According to the CDC, tooth decay is the most common health condition affecting children. In fact, for 14 to 17-year-olds tooth decay is 400% more prevalent than asthma. About 1 in 4 children aged 6-11 suffers from tooth decay. That number jumps to nearly 3 in 5 for the 12-19 age group. Why is tooth decay such a problem for young people, and what can you do to protect your children? Read on to learn about why tooth decay afflicts youths.
Eating Habits Increase Risk
One of the greatest factors influencing tooth decay in children is diet. The fact is that young people love candy, desserts, and soft drinks. Between fast food, vending machines, and sugary beverages, it’s no wonder that young people are experiencing tooth decay.
How does a diet high in sugar result in tooth decay? The bacteria in the mouth thrive in acidic conditions. Sugars create acidic conditions in the mouth. As a result, bacteria can multiply faster leading to plaque, tartar buildup, and tooth decay.
Poor Oral Care Habits Also to Blame
The average youth also struggles to stay on a good oral care schedule. We may remind our children to brush their teeth in the morning and evening when they are little, but do we keep after their routine as they get a little older and should know better? It’s no wonder that tooth decay, already prevalent in younger children, increases dramatically around age 12.
How to Promote Good Oral Care in Your Household
How can you help your children not to become a part of the statistics listed above? Here are some suggestions.
Set the Example – Let your children see you brush your teeth. If there is room in the bathroom, make brushing a family routine, and have your child brush at the same time.
Teach Technique – Your children will need your help to learn how to brush properly. Teach them how to floss as well. We are always more likely to do something regularly when we know how to do it.
Education – When we know something is beneficial, we are more likely to go out of our way for it. Train children to understand the importance of caring for their teeth.
Dietary Instructions – Replacing colas with water can go a long way toward preventing tooth decay. Kids often grab the sweetest options available, so swap sugary snacks for fruit.
With a little training and encouragement, children can have strong and healthy teeth well into adulthood. Start training young, and don’t forget to schedule regular dental visits.