Why Should I Worry About Tooth Decay in Children?
Tooth decay is the most common preventable chronic disease in children aged 6 to 19
Tooth decay is largely avoidable. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to children having trouble with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Plus, there can be lifelong impacts from tooth decay—even in baby teeth. Preventing tooth decay is something that you, your child, and a kids' dentist near you can do together.
Does your child have tooth decay? Chances are the answer is yes.
- Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children aged 6 to 19
- About 1 in 5 children aged 5 to 11 years and 1 in 7 adolescents have at least one untreated decayed tooth
Is tooth decay really a chronic disease?
Yes. Tooth decay, and cavities in teeth, is a chronic disease, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the single most common chronic childhood disease—more common than asthma, early-childhood obesity, and diabetes.
What is a chronic disease?
A chronic disease is a disease or illness that persists over a long period of time. Recent research has shown connections between chronic oral infections and diabetes, heart and lung disease, and other diseases. Oral health is important because it supports and reflects the health of the entire body.
How does tooth decay occur?
Tooth decay is damage that occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at tooth enamel, the outer layer of a tooth. Bacteria is produced to breakdown foods after eating and drinking, which in turn produces acids that ultimately attack the teeth. This can lead to cavities over time.
Why is tooth decay something I should worry about?
Baby tooth decay
Many parents think that tooth decay in baby teeth isn’t serious because baby teeth (primary teeth) will ultimately be replaced by adult, or permanent, teeth.
The truth is that tooth decay and cavities in baby teeth can have serious impacts on adult teeth that are below the surface of your child’s gums. Left alone, tooth decay in baby teeth can cause cavities in adult teeth before they even come in.
Taking good care of your child’s baby teeth can also start building dental habits for lifelong health. Your child’s dentist can help you all along the way—starting from their first tooth. Find a kid-friendly dentist for your child.