Tooth decay affects children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Untreated tooth decay causes pain and infections that may lead to problems; such as eating, speaking, playing, and learning.
Doctor Donald Riley, D.D.S. of Crown Dental Group said a child's diet is important.
Dr. Riley said the intake of sugars, liquid and sticky sweets needs to be watched.
â??It has to be a combination between the kids and the parents, obviously, and we have to watch what goes into their diet,â?? Dr. Riley said.
â??We get a lot of sugars in our diet that we do not realize that we're getting. We get liquid sweets; we get sticky sweets, so we really need to watch the intake of juices. If we're going to drink juice let's drink it and be done with it, not sip on it all day. And, another thing is we get a lot of sticky sweets in our diet that we forget about. The number one culprit is raisins. We think raisins are great for our kid â?¦ but if we give them a box of raisins and let them graze on them all day they're constantly bathing their teeth in sticky sweets.â??
He said it is important children brush their teeth.
â??They need to floss on a daily basis,â?? Dr. Riley said. â??And, also from a parent stand point we need to help them brush.â??
He said parents should have their child use a toothbrush that is the appropriate size for their mouth.
â??Also, letâ??s use a brush that makes it fun,â?? Dr. Riley said.
He said using a battery powered toothbrush or an electric toothbrush may help with that.
Dr. Riley said there is a certain type of toothpaste you should use for a child.
â??They make toothpaste that (is) specifically for children,â?? Dr. Riley said.
â??Because, one of the problems we have if a child uses an adult toothpaste they can actually get too much fluoride and you end up with a cosmetic problem with the teeth called Enamel Fluorosis. So, we want to stay away from adult toothpaste.â??
He said another problem with adult toothpaste is that some contain whiteners.
â??(There are) a lot of things in adult toothpaste whiteners and other things that can not taste good, or give a burning rash in a child's mouth.â??
Dr. Riley said they also make toothpaste that does not contain fluoride.