According to reports on the Today Show, Huffington Post and the New York Times, cavities are up in kids ages 2 to 5 — something we haven’t seen in 40 years. I think only one of my kids has any fillings, but we had some trouble with cavities when he was a tot.
This unsavory trend is hitting all income levels, and this is horrible news. Experts say we are avoiding tap water (which has fluoride in it) in favor of bottled water and juices. And get this — tots are drinking too much soda. Also, toddlers are not spending enough time with the toothbrush. The horror of all of this is that bad teeth gives kids painful mouths and that means a need for professional help. Kids this young have to be sedated, given anti-anxiety meds or even placed under general anesthesia for expensive dental work to take place. Anesthesia and meds result in a lot of side effects.
To flip this trend, experts recommend better dental hygiene and stop the snacks and sweet drinks. Put some teeth in your tooth-brushing battles with the kids. Sometimes kids, like my son, have trouble with cavities even if they do everything right. And that makes dental hygiene all the more important. My little ankle-biter was using an electric toothbrush and flossing before he rode a bike. Yours can too. Here’s a link to a lot of videos that teach parents and kids how to clean teeth. Here’s a link to some books — including pop-ups — to help persuade kids to brush teeth. My fave is “Clarabella’s Teeth,” but “Ginger McFlea Will Not Clean Her Teeth” puts some real bite in this topic — it’s a must read if your kids are old enough to appreciate the tooth fairy concept of high finance. Money is a big incentive for some kids. Like Kevin O’Leary says on “Shark Tank,” — it’s all about the money.