Would you believe that the #1 chronic disease among children is tooth decay? In fact, dentists are seeing so much decay, that they’re using general anesthesia to knock kids out as young as 2 years old to fix cavities in their baby teeth. As well as doing crowns and root canals. In 2-year-olds!
Why is this happening? Experts point out that a lot of parents are giving their kids bottled water instead of using fluoridated tap water designed to reduce cavities.
More reasons for the increased tooth decay: Endless snacking. All day sippycups. And giving kids juice or other sweetened drinks at bedtime.
But the biggest problem is that a lot of parents don’t bother to brush their kids’ teeth – because the kids scream and cry. And they don’t want their “little darlings” traumatized. Plus, they figure baby teeth fall out anyway.
But pediatric dentist Dr. Jonathan Shenkin says that he’d much rather have a kid cry over a toothbrush, than over injections and teeth-drilling. Especially since giving kids anti-anxiety meds and Novocain can easily lead to an overdose. And general anesthesia can cause vomiting and nausea.
And in very rare cases, brain damage or death. It’s also expensive. Knocking a kid out for a teeth-fixing session can cost more than $5-thousand dollars.
Even though baby teeth fall out anyway, decay deep in the gums can damage the crowns of the permanent teeth developing beneath them. Also, if a child loses baby teeth too early, the permanent ones can come in at the wrong angle – which could mean braces later on.
So, brush your kid’s teeth. And take them to the dentist by the time they turn 1. They need to be assessed for future cavity risk, even if they only have a few teeth.