Cavities in Children on the Rise - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/22/07

Cavities in Children on the Rise

A child has a check up at the dentist. A child has a check up at the dentist.

Dentists and dental hygienists at the Dentistry for Children and Adolescents are getting used to having a full house these days. Pediatric dentist Dr. Jay McCaslin says the number of children with cavities is growing. "We see kids that come in and we catch some early cavities," he explained. "Then we get children that come in that have mouths full of cavities. Anywhere from 10 to 20 cavities in their mouth. We have one and a half year olds that have multiple cavities at that age."

Grandmother Marcia Rewis is glad her two grandsons Maurice and Terrell, take care of their teeth everyday. "They brush while they're in the shower, whenever they can. And no sweets. Very seldom do they get sweets," she said.

But it may not only be sweets they need to watch out for. Dr. McCaslin says a lot of foods we eat and drink can cause cavities, including items we normally wouldn't think of, like breads and bottled waters. "There is no fluoride in most bottled water. If you're drinking bottled water all the time and everything else you drink is juice or soda, then you're not getting the benefit of fluoride," he told us.

Fluoride strengthens teeth that could be weakened by things like sugar. "Even the white bread our children love so much is loaded with sugar," Dr. McCaslin said.

But Dr. McCaslin also cautioned that food and beverages aren't the only culprits to cavities. Bad oral hygiene from birth can cause a lot of aggravations later. "If children do not take care of their teeth, they can get to the point where teeth abscess and have to be removed or crowned."

Something parents and grandparents like Marcia don't want to happen. She's planning to limit her grandsons soft drinks and make a regular appointment to see the dentist. "They'll be back in February," said Marcia.

Dr. McCaslin also suggests that parents start brushing their children's teeth as soon as they come into their mouth. He recommends children drink lots of water in between meals. Some stores even sell bottled water with fluoride in it.

He also warns that parents make sure they know what types of food their child is eating. Read ingredients and call their school and ask about their menu. And of course, he suggests that parents bring kids in for regular check ups.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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