May 23, 2024

Are Kids Getting More Cavities?

Kid Cavities

The Care Quest Institute for Oral Health reports that “early childhood caries remains the most common, preventable infectious disease among children in the United States.”Every year during the month, I visit preschools and kindergartens to get kids excited about brushing, cleaning in between their teeth, making healthy choices with what they eat and drink, and visiting the dentist. Part of the presentation always involves putting on all my PPE, lab coat, glasses, mask, and gloves. I like to show the kids that, while I might look different or even scary, I’m the same person they were laughing with a minute ago. While I’m all covered up, I have the kids open their mouths and take a quick look.

These preschoolers are COVID-19 babies. Have they yet to get to a dentist? The AAPD recommends that children see a dentist for an initial screening by their first birthday. Some sources say to make an appointment when the first tooth erupts. Having an established dental home helps identify any early issues and sets a pattern for dental care. Scheduling a “get to know you” visit can show a child that going to the dentist can be fun.

The Fluoride Debate

Are these kids not getting fluoride in their drinking water and toothpaste? Fluoride has become a hot topic. Depending on where parents fall on the research, this could be something they are avoiding. If fluoride is something you, or they, aren’t a fan of, I’m not going to stoke the fire but instead offer other decay-fighting products. Consider products with nanohydroxyapatite, arginine, or xylitol to create an oral environment less prone to decay.


The preschool teachers specifically asked me to talk to the kids about what they ate and drank at snack time. Apparently, lunchboxes are filled with sugary drinks and treats. When I asked the kids to tell me one healthy snack they could put in their lunchbox, a few mentioned fruit bars or gummy snacks. Both can be full of sugar. Constant sipping of juice through sippy cups seems commonplace.


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