Parents urged to take kids to dentists as cavities cause millions in missed school hours

Half of children in kindergarten have at least one cavity; one in five have untreated cavities

SAN ANTONIO – The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says bad mouth hygiene habits and sugary treats and beverages are leading to many kids missing important school time.

Dr. Scott Cashion, President of AAPD said all children should have their first dental visit by the age of one or whenever their first tooth comes in. He said getting children into the dentist early will help keep mouth issues limited or non-existent.

“Our goal is prevention, because we know if we get them started on the right foot, they are going to have a lifetime of being cavity free,” Cashion said.

Prevention includes having sugary items in moderation, brushing and flossing daily and going to the dentist at least two times a year.

“We know that if there’s a problem in the mouth, that can affect your overall health,” Cashion said.

Problems in the mouth can lead to sleep issues, bad eating habits and low self-esteem. They can also lead to your child missing school because of last minute cavity fillings. The AAPD says 34 million school hours a year are missed because of tooth issues in children.

Across Texas, the AAPD says half of children in kindergarten have a cavity and one in five have untreated cavities.

“Brushing twice a day for two minutes is such an important thing, as well as flossing once a day, then regular visits to your pediatric dentist so that if there is a problem, we can catch it when it’s small,” Cashion said.

To help families struggling to get their kids to the dentist, the AAPD started the AAPD Foundation. This organization is made up of dedicated resources to prevent any child from going without dental care.

Over $10 million has been given to help children across the nation get into a dentist. In Texas, the AAPD Foundation has given $1 million to families over the past five years. Organizations in San Antonio have received $455,000 of that total.

“Our foundation is truly working towards that optimal oral health care for all children,” Cashion said.

You can learn more about the AAPD Foundation by clicking here.

About the Author

Halee Powers is a KSAT producer primarily focused on digital newscasts and events.

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