A dentist who got a visit from an 8-year-old boy with particularly bad teeth only needed one glance into the child’s mouth to know what his mother had been letting him drink: soda.
Dentists and health organizations are now warning parents about an increase in tooth decay among young children — particularly resulting from soft drinks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth, and 21 percent of those aged 6 to 11 in their permanent teeth, Fox News reported.
Dentists say some parents fail to realize that children lack the motor skills to brush their teeth properly until they are 8 years old .
“It’s not that they don’t want to do a good job, they’re just not physically capable yet,” Dr. Edward Moody, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, told Fox.
Parents are advised to supervise their children’s teeth brushing to combat this.
Problems also emerge due to the consumption of sugars and acids, especially from sodas. According to NPR, drinking more than one soda per day increases the risk that the acids contained in sodas will erode enamel and the white color of teeth. The impact has even been compared to the effect of methamphetamine.
In Appalachia, a region covering an area from southern New York to Alabama, 26 percent of pre-school children suffer from tooth decay, and 15 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 have had a tooth removed due to decay or erosion.
Priscilla Harris, a researcher at Appalachian College, blames the region’s tooth decay problems on Mountain Dew soda, which is particularly popular.
“Students tell us it tastes best, and its a habit,” she told NPR.
Children with cavities in their teeth can face problems throughout their lives. Even if the cavity develops in a baby tooth, this can affect the growth of adult teeth if it remains untreated and becomes infected.
Untreated cavities can even be the cause of poor sleep and problems with speech articulation.
Figures indicate that this problem extends well beyond the borders of the United States.
Britain’s Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that the cost of removing decayed teeth in children increased by 66 percent between 2010-11 and 2014-15.
The number of overall procedures in 2014-15 was 40,970, up from 32,457 four years earlier.
“Our children’s teeth are rotting because they are consuming too much food and drink high in sugar far too often. Nearly half of 11- to 15-year-olds have a sugary drink at least once a day,” Izzi Seccombe, an LGA spokeswoman, told the Guardian.
Sources: Fox News, NPR, Guardian / Photo credit: Fox News