Tooth Decay in Children Continues to Rise
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Five years ago the federal government reported tooth decay was on the rise in young children for the first time in 40 years. Today, dentists nationwide say the numbers are not getting better.
According to a nationwide survey, dentists are seeing more preschoolers with 6 to 10 cavities, or more.
Locally, the Eastman Center in Rochester, treats 500 kids a year for severe decay. Since 1967, Eastman Dental has been using mobile dental units to reach out to kids in the Rochester City School District and more rural areas.
Dentists say even in a tough economy, it's important not to neglect a child's dental health.
"I think the biggest thing is just making sure than even if Johnny or Sally are tired at the end of the day that we still enforce upon the children that we need to brush our teeth everyday even if we're tired and we don't feel like it,” said Dr. Sean McLaren of Eastman Dental.
McLaren says there's a direct correlation between poverty and tooth decay.
Since 1980, the Smile mobile program has served more than 42,000 elementary students.