On Your Side: Tooth Troubles

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

May 7, 2007

Oral health for most Americans is improving, except in one critical age group.

Dentists say more and more kids between age two and five are coming in with tooth decay.

The Center for Disease Control says nearly 30 percent of children under the age of six are experiencing tooth decay. And unless parents make some changes in their child's oral health, this is a problem that will only get worse.

Pediatric dentist Andy Chandler knows he's not necessarily too high up on the list of your child's favorite people. But there are few folks more vital to your child's early years than him. He's on the front lines every day, fighting to keep your child's teeth healthy.

Lately he's noticed something troubling.

"It's the little kids...children under six," he said.

The number of kids in that age group getting cavities and tooth decay is on the rise...something Dr. Chandler says has to stop. And it starts with you, the parent.

"They need to be brushing their kids' teeth," he said.

And get them to the dentist...something Deandre Butler's mom Latoya Roane has made sure he's done since he was young.

"I'm always relieved when I get here and find out he has no dental problems," she said.

But it goes way beyond that. Sugar is a big problem, meaning you need to limit the snacks--especially when it comes to sweets and sugary drinks.

"Can't be on a bottle or a sippy cup in bed," Dr. Chandler said.

If you're in doubt, go to the dentist for an evaluation.

"The evaluation is not for fixing cavities. It's to coach the parents."

All of this is a recipe to save you money and your child pain for a long time down the road.

Doctor Andy, as his patients call him, says you should bring your child in for checkup by the time he or she has eight teeth.

And you'll want to avoid giving them bottled water. You may not know it, but most types of bottled water have no fluoride in them.

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