For the first time in forty years, the number of kids up to five years old with tooth decay is increasing. The New York Times has a summary of the reasearch that was done. Right at the start of the article, there is a quote from the mother of a child that had cavities in 11 teeth. She mentions that she had a lot on her mind, and that brushing teeth at nighttime was an extra thing she didn’t think about. While this might sound careless, anyone who has had the privilege and responsibility of raising a child knows this: its freakin’ crazy sometimes.
Upon arrival at home, its dinner, dishes, homework, bath time, jammies, story time, needing a drink of water, singing a bedtime song, needing another drink of water… and then the sweet silence of a sleeping child awakens you to the reality you forgot to brush their teeth. Plus, there are days when your child screams as if the act of brushing their teeth is commensurate with medieval torture. Despite that, we still do it to avoid the larger problem of tooth decay.
The point is this, parents: Just do your best, but be proactive and intentional. These teeth are not disposable just because they will fall out someday, and be aware of the obvious things you could be doing:
- Soda pop of any kind is not healthy for teeth, or for the overall health of your child. Even Sprite.
- Brushing is important no matter what kind of resistance you get. They will be more traumatized from the sound of the drill.
- Regular checkups help to find problems early, when they are smaller and easier to deal with.
- Anything but water at bedtime will increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Xylitol products are a fantastic way to fight against decay causing bacteria