To help children get a head start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, it's important for parents to schedule regular dental visits for their children and help develop good habits at an early age.
Dental caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Approximately 60% of children experience caries in their primary teeth by age five. According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 4 children, aged two to eleven, have untreated cavities in their primary teeth.
While poor diet and oral hygiene certainly play a role, cavities are actually caused by a disease called caries, which is five times more common than asthma. Children experiencing caries as infants and toddlers have a much greater probability of subsequent caries in both the primary and permanent dentition.
“It’s heartbreaking to see a child’s smile destroyed by severe tooth decay. Imagine not being able to eat, sleep and pay attention in school because you have a mouthful of toothaches," said Dr. Farhad Yeroshalmi, Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and Section Chief and Residency Program Director, Department of Pediatric Dentistry at NYC Health +Hospitals /Jacobi/ North Central Bronx.
“Some children have reached the point where the only alternative is a mouth full of crowns or extracting the teeth we cannot save. It’s tragic. We all need to do more to help children get the dental care they need.”
The Dental Departments across NYC Health + Hospitals provide a safety net for those with limited or no access to dental care.
“Our patients are at the highest risk. The National Institutes of Health has reported that 80% of tooth decay is found in just 25% of children, primarily from low-income families. Often, we are the last stop for these patients, as they cannot get the care they need anywhere else," Dr. Yeroshalmi said.
He continued, "Our goal is to get everyone involved in identifying
the disease and poor nutrition, and improving their oral hygiene,
healthy nutrition, dental condition, and overall health."
NYDA Pediatric dentists across the NYC Health + Hospitals system are here to provide a wonderful dental home to patients of all ages, even for children as young as one!
According to Dr. Yeroshalmi, “This teamwork with our medical colleagues will establish an ongoing relationship between the dentist, physician, and the patient, creating a dental home where all aspects of oral health care are delivered in a comprehensive, accessible and family-centered way."