Preschoolers are increasingly having to undergo extensive surgery to get fix the cavities they've gotten from lack of brushing, get root canals or have teeth extracted.
Five years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the number of preschoolers with cavities had increased — the first time that had happened in 40 years. "Dentists nationwide say they are seeing more preschoolers at all income levels with 6 to 10 cavities or more," reports Catherine Saint Louis for The New York Times. "The level of decay, they added, is so severe that they often recommend using general anesthesia because young children are unlikely to sit through such extensive procedures while they are awake." (Times photo by Stuart Isett)
"We have had a huge increase in kids going to the operating room," said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a pediatric dentist in Augusta, Me., and a spokesman for the American Dental Association. "We're treating more kids more aggressively earlier."
Causes for the increase can be linked to lots of snacking and juice or other sugary drinks before bedtime; kids drinking bottled water rather than tap water; a lack of knowledge that infants should go to the dentist by age 1 to be assessed for cavity risk.
Parents can sometimes confused dental decay with teething and don't realize there is a problem until teeth break or the pain becomes so bad the child cannot sleep. (Read more)