Cavities on the rise among preschoolers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cavities on the rise among preschoolers

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

More kids are getting cavities at younger ages.  The Centers for Disease Control says there's been a spike in kids of all income levels at preschool age, with six to 10 cavities or more.  And prevention is key to avoiding major mouth and medical problems in your kids.

A lot of kids don't like coming to the dentist.  But an increasing number of young children, under age 5, need to visit the dentist for treatment.

"We are seeing a lot of children with a lot of dental decay," said Dr. Jyoti Chowdhury with Only Kids Dentistry in Waterloo.

And that's a troubling trend, because even with baby teeth—dental problems can easily lead to other issues.

"Children with bad teeth tend to be much smaller in size, do much poorer at school.  And in very serious cases, we have seen some deaths occur because of brain abscesses from dental abscesses," said Dr. Chowdhury.

Making matters worse, fixing cavities in preschool age kids isn't easy.  One of Dr. Chowdhury's three-year-old patients had eight decayed teeth that needed everything from crowns to root canals--repairs she could only handle by undergoing surgery.

"Most of the times, we are forced to take them to a hospital setting and do all the work under general anesthesia because of the amount of decay the child has got, the amount of treatment involved, and the age of the child," Dr. Chowdhury said.

Cutting back on how much sugary food and drink kids consume, and brushing their teeth more often, are key to avoiding major mouth problems.

And as soon as kids get teeth, by age one, they should begin dental check-ups every six months to keep healthy smiles.

 To avoid tooth decay, dentists also advise you not to give infants a bottle and put them right in bed.  Once their teeth come in, you should brush them with a pea-sized drop of toothpaste with fluoride twice a day.  And if they complain of any tooth pain, it's best to visit a dentist so you don't assume a cavity is just teething.

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