Let’s Bring Back “Look Ma, No Cavities!”
By Dr. Doyle Williams
“Look Ma, no cavities!” seems to be a phrase of the past.
Recently the Australian Dental Association (ADA) suggested many Australian parents view dental problems as “the norm.” Studies revealed 60 percent of Australian parents surveyed accepted that their child would experience tooth decay, an almost entirely preventable disease, at some point in time. And Australia is not alone: tooth decay is the most common chronic illness among school-age children in the United States.
Tooth decay, the process that results in a cavity and occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth, can be easily be prevented by brushing and flossing twice a day, controlling harmful bacteria and maintaining a healthy diet. If tooth decay goes untreated, it can cause pain, infection, tooth loss and- in extreme cases- death in patients.
Parents have a challenging job. Instead of looking at brushing teeth as a burden, think of it as a relaxing two minutes of ‘me’ time. Here are some ideas:
- Make brushing and flossing a twice daily event – in the morning before you go out the door and as the last activity before going to bed
- Take your baby to the dentist by age 1 to be assessed for future cavity risk.
- Drink fluoridated tap water instead of plain bottled water.
- Cut down on sugary snacks, juices and sodas especially before bedtime.
If children sense their parents view dental problems as inevitable, they are likely to adopt the same belief and will be less likely to take pride in their oral health. Let’s take simple—but important--steps to bring back the phrase “Look Ma, no cavities!” and erase tooth decay.