People are surprised to learn cavities in children’s baby teeth can spread to their adult teeth. The result can be a lifetime of costly, painful dental problems. That’s why it’s important to care for baby teeth — it’s where good dental health for life starts.
We have a new bilingual campaign called Cavities Get Around. It raises awareness of the importance of baby teeth and having children drink only water between meals and at bedtime. Why is this campaign necessary?
It’s necessary because huge numbers of Colorado kids have poor dental health. A 2012 report found 40 percent of kindergarteners and 55 percent of third-graders in Colorado experienced cavities. The same report found 1 in 7 kindergarteners and third-graders had untreated cavities.
Cavities are no big real, right? Wrong. When untreated, a cavity can become an infection. An infection can be very painful and often require emergency surgery. It happens more than you think.
Children don’t get a do-over when their baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth start to appear. The health of baby teeth — good or bad — carries over to adult teeth.
Too much sugar from juice is a big reason why kids experience poor dental health. We may think juice is healthy, but it often has as much sugar as soda. This sugar — found even in 100% fruit juice — fuels cavity-causing bacteria in kids’ mouths. This is especially true when children sip on juice throughout the day.
All-day sipping bathes teeth in sugar. This is a big problem in young children because the hard surface of baby teeth — enamel — is thin, making their teeth vulnerable to sugar’s harmful effects.
So, what’s a family to do? Limit juice and other sugary drinks to mealtimes only—breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This minimizes the time a child’s teeth are exposed to sugar and allows the mouth to naturally clean itself of the “bad” bacteria.
Then, between meals and especially at bedtime, a child should have only water. Water between meals and at bedtime, along with daily brushing, will keep the mouth clean and those cavity-causing bacteria at bay.
Learn more about the importance of baby teeth and why children need more water at CavitiesGetAround.com.