When my daughters were younger, they would sometimes thrash and scream and bite when I tried to brush their teeth. Often, I'd bargain for a shorter brush or possibly a brush without toothpaste, but sometimes - I'll admit it - I let my kids get away with missing a daily brushing.
And based on a recent New York Times article, it seems I'm not alone. More and more, preschoolers are coming to dentists' offices with advanced decay in several teeth - in some cases as many as 10-12 cavities at one time. One of the serious outcomes of tooth decay on this scale is that children require general anesthesia (and all the risks associated with it) in order to treat that many teeth at once. I'm sure you'd agree - one or even two fillings are more than enough for one sitting. And in some cases, dentists will be performing not only several fillings but also root canals or other more invasive procedures on these young children.
Dentists interviewed for the Times article say they're seeing an increase in parental permissiveness regarding dental care. In other words, if little Johnny screams when he gets his teeth brushed, Mom and Dad just don't brush his teeth. There also seems also to be a lack of understanding with many parents of what constitutes good dental hygiene in babies, toddlers and preschoolers. For instance, many parents don't know that it's important for Baby's first visit to the dentist to be before the age of one. Even if Baby only has one tooth, dentists can help parents prevent the development of decay and the sooner the better.
According to a recent study conducted by Angus Reid on behalf of the makers of LISTERINE® mouthwash, it seems that Canadian parents could also use some help with our kids' oral health. The study says that 63 per cent of kids between the ages of 6 and 12 have had a cavity, and further, that 61 per cent of children with cavities have two or more. Not surprisingly, 86 per cent of parents report being worried about protecting their kids from cavities. We all know it can be a challenge to get your kids to take care of their teeth and it's just that much harder to do if they don't buy in to the reasons why it's important.
The good news is that according to the Angus Reid survey, 95 per cent of Canadian parents have established a dental care routine for their children. Also, most of us practice what we preach and since kids learn best by example, this is great news!
To honour the importance of a good education, LISTERINE® Brand is sponsoring the LISTERINE® SMART MOUTH KIDS contest on UrbanMoms, with a chance to WIN one of three $1,000 cash prizes that can be used towards your child's education! The contest starts next week and will run for three consecutive weeks. It's open to UrbanMoms members and your comment is your ballot, so stay tuned for your first chance to enter this amazing contest.
What about you? Have you struggled with tooth decay in your children? What did you do to address it? Do you have any winning suggestions for enticing kids to pay better attention to their oral care? Share your stories, tips and suggestions in the comments below.
Click here for Contest Rules and Regulations.
UrbanMoms.ca members are eligible to win so don't forget to sign-in. Not a member yet? Click here to join.