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As soon as a child’s first tooth erupts, it is time to start instilling good oral hygiene habits to avoid developing serious dental problems when they are older. Follow your dentist’s advice to keep up with regular check-ups to improve your child’s chances of preventing dental problems and avoid developing the three common dental problems children face.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay leading to cavities is the most common problem among children and youth in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 of 5 (20 percent) of children ages 5 to 11 years old have at least one untreated tooth cavity.  The CDC also reports that 1 in 7 (13 percent) 12 to 19-year olds have at least one untreated decayed tooth.   Children from low-income families are the most vulnerable with a 25 percent chance of having untreated tooth decay, compared to children of higher-income households at 11 percent.

Tooth decay may be avoided with good oral hygiene habits including brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once daily to get rid of the bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Consult your dentist before using fluoride toothpaste for those children under two years old. For babies, start brushing teeth with a soft, small-bristled toothbrush and plain water. Consult your dentist about using fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts. Visit your dentist by your baby’s first birthday to establish good oral health habits and to spot any early issues.

Gingivitis and Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is caused by plaque and tartar build-up that may lead to gum inflammation, redness, and bleeding.  If left untreated, gingivitis quickly may become gum disease and lead to tooth or bone loss.  The good news is that gingivitis can be easily reversed with good oral hygiene habits, such as twice-daily tooth brushing, flossing at least once a day, and regular check-ups with your dentist to remove hardened plaque.

Missing Teeth

As a person ages, there is an increasing chance of having missing teeth, but tooth loss is still of concern for children.  While children eventually lose all of their primary teeth naturally, about 5 percent of children age 5 to 10 lose their teeth due to tooth decay.  This loss of a tooth will affect the tooth growing underneath and about 1 percent of children age 6 to 14 lose permanent teeth to decay.

Dr. Melchers and his experienced staff are here to address all your oral health care issues and care about your overall wellness. Contact us today at info@oldmtpleasantdentistry.com to see how we can best meet your dental care needs.