You probably sound like a broken record to your children, constantly telling them “go brush your teeth.” But you know what? Kids aren’t always that great at brushing their teeth – and even if they are, some are just more susceptible than others to dental issues. That means they could end up with cavities, which can actually lead to other health issues. So, since cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the U.S., this February, for National Children’s Dental Health Month, we want to shed some light on these dental menaces and help you find ways to prevent them.
Risk Factors For Cavities
Cavities are permanently damaged areas on the hard surface of the teeth that develop into tiny holes or openings. Once a cavity forms, it has to be fixed, or it will continue to grow and get worse.
Cavities and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems. According to the CDC:
- Around 1 in 5 children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
- 1 in 7 children aged 12 to 19 years has at least one untreated decayed tooth.
- Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households.
It’s important to note that children develop cavities for a number of reasons other than not brushing their teeth properly. For example, your child has a higher chance of getting cavities if family members have cavities, and if they consume a lot of sugary foods and drinks.
Symptoms of A Cavity
Signs of tooth decay and cavities include:
- White patches or brown spots on teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold
- Red or swollen gums
- Holes in teeth
- Pain when biting down
- Broken teeth
The Effects Of Cavities On Your Child
A cavity that is left untreated can lead to a tooth abscess, infection, or tooth loss, as well as other serious health issues. The pain can cause children to stop eating, resulting in weight loss or nutritional problems. It can also lead to problems with speaking, playing, and learning. In fact, children who have poor oral health are more likely to miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
What You Can Do
Cavities are preventable. It is important to start healthy dental habits from a young age and stay on top of your child’s dental health. The following are steps you can take to practice good oral hygiene:
- Help brush your child’s teeth until they are good at it themselves
- Make sure they brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Watch your children brush their teeth if they are younger than 6 years old
- Take them for dental checkups every six months, and have your dentist put a sealant on their teeth to help prevent cavities
A good dental insurance plan is key to practicing good oral hygiene. If you’re looking for a great health insurance plan that includes dental coverage, come to EZ. We will compare plans, go over every option, discuss your needs, and help you sign up for the plan you need, all at no cost to you. Our services are completely free, with no hassle and no obligation. Get free health insurance quotes by entering your zip code in the bar above, or to speak with a local agent, call 888-350-1890.