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HOUSTON It s practically a crisis among the nation s children.According to the CDC, more than one-fourth of children in the United States between age2 and5 suffer from tooth decay.

McKenna Meek, 5, has seven cavities.She will undergo an hour and a half-long procedure that will require anesthesia.

We came in January for our twice-a-year checkup and found she has seven cavities in different quadrants of her mouth, says McKenna s mother, Misty Meek. They were in between the teeth and here we are.

It was a tough diagnosis for both McKenna and her mother.

I felt like it was something I did.Not keeping her hygiene up and I m a stickler for that.We brush in the morning.We brush in the evening.I have two older boys.They ve never once had a cavity, Misty Meek says.

A U.S. Surgeon General s report on oral health in America found that tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease.

We re seeing a rise in cavities.We re also seeing a rise in childhood obesity.We think diet plays a big part in that, says Dr. Richard Matthews, DDS. There s also a genetic component that affects it because we have kids who brush, floss and still get cavities.It s a great frustration to parents.

Some things you cannot control, but there are other things you can do, according to dentists.

Dr. Maureen Poux, DDS, emphasizes the importance of a good diet.

I think a lot of times people forget. Oh, I m giving my child milk, but it s chocolate milk or strawberry milk.These are things that you don t think are a lot of sugar, but they are, she explained.

The dentists do not think it is realistic to eliminate sugar, but everything in moderation is a good motto to avoid a costly extended stay at the dentist's office.
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