Summary Overview

Tooth decay (cavities) is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood in the United States. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning.


Basics

Maintaining proper oral health will prevent and control oral diseases. Tooth decay is preventable. Fluoride varnish, a high concentration fluoride coating that is painted on teeth can prevent about one-third (33%) of decay in the primary (baby) teeth.


Flouride in our Water


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Recommendations

To ensure good oral health for your child:

  • Protect your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Clean gums and teeth with a wash cloth or gauze from the newborn through teething stages.
  • Begin flossing when the baby’s first teeth appear.
  • Watch your child brush their teeth. Make sure your child only uses a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spits it out instead of swallowing it.
  • If your drinking water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist or pediatrician if your child needs oral fluoride supplements.
  • Talk to your child’s dentists about dental sealants as they protect teeth from decay.
  • Have your child visit a dentist for a first checkup by age 1.
  • Drinking fluoridated water keeps the teeth strong and reduced tooth decay by approximately 25% in children and adults. By preventing tooth decay, community water fluoridation has been shown to save money, both for families and the health care system.

Related Fact

About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. (CDC)

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