Parents Talk: Dentists Seeing a Rise in Preschool Cavities

Who is at fault for this alarming statistic as it pertains to toddlers having to be put to sleep with anesthesia in order to have surgeries as extensive as root canals?

Initially I decided on the topic of toddlers and dentistry to get input from parents on how to prepare my two year old for his first trip to the dentist. I've found a dentist in the after doing some research and an extensive poll on my personal Facebook page (sarcasm).

My son had always been excited about brushing his teeth and reminds me when he wakes up, after lunch and before he gets in the bed at night. But I feel uneasy about how he'll react to the chair, noises, tools, and mostly the man behind the mask!

As I started doing some research for this article, I ran across a New York Times piece on the rise in preschool cavitites

The New York Times' article discussed how dentists are facing more young children and toddlers with cavities that need so much dental work the dentists are needing to put them completely under with general anesthesia.

One example in the story was a 2 1/2-year-old child who had cavities on 11 of his 20 baby teeth. His pediatric dentist had to extract two incisors, perform a root canal on a molar, and give the rest fillings and crowns.

Dentists quoted in the story put the blame parents, saying today's parents are less likely to enforce general preventative methods:

  • Twice-a-day brushing
  • Fail to get their children into regular dental care soon enough
  • Give their children bottled water that has no fluoride
  • Too much sugar without brushing afterwards
  • Too much juice

Parents Talk Discussion

So lets get the discussion started.

  1. How do/did you prepare your toddler for the dentist?
  2. Do you agree with the dentists' summation of today's parents and preventative dental methods?


Angela Atkinson March 09, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I took my kids around the age of 2. At that time, the dentist mostly just looked as the kids wouldn't allow much else. Each time, it got a little better. When my daughter fell and broke her front teeth, I had the dentist fix them when she was 3, right before starting preschool. That took a lot of talking before hand to let her know how things would happen, and then promises of certain rewards if she allowed the dentist to fix them. She did, and she got her rewards. I do think that a lot of parents might not realize how important dental care is, even for little ones. I started brushing my kids' teeth as soon as the first one popped out so they'd get used to it. They now do pretty well keeping them clean, for the most part. We're lucky to have a great dentist and staff who are very kid-friendly too.
Candace Jarrett March 11, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Good information Angie. Thanks! My son loves to brush his teeth and reminds me twice a day to let him do so. I go behind him of course, but I'm interested to see how he will interact with the dentist. I made his dad's appointment the same day. I figure he'll do better with him than me.


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