Cavities have made a dismaying comeback in children in recent years, and the search is on among scientists to find new ways to fight tooth decay.
The prevalence of cavities in children aged 2 to 5 decreased steadily through the 1970s and 1980s, thanks largely to the expansion of water fluoridation and to advances in treatment and prevention, dental experts say. The trend appeared to hit a low around the mid-1990s, when about 24% of young children had cavities, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But tooth decay then began heading higher. A CDC survey found that 28% of small children—a significant increase, according to the agency—had cavities in the five years ended 2004, the latest data available. The reasons for the increase aren’t entirely clear. But dental experts suggest it may be due to children drinking more bottled water that doesn’t contain fluoride, and to changes in dietary habits…
Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
• Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque on tooth surfaces.
• Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle at the gums.
• Brush back and forth gently, with short strokes the width of your teeth.
• Brush all tooth surfaces and the tongue.
• Brush inside surface of front teeth using up-and-down motion.
• Parents should help small children with brushing until they have mastered fine motor control, like shoe tying, around age 6…
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