Dentists Report Rise In Preschoolers With Cavities

dentistry for childrenDentists are now seeing so many preschoolers with cavities and even severe tooth decay (6 to 10 cavities or more) that there’s been “a huge increase” in little kids who need general anesthesia for dental procedures, including tooth extractions, crowns and even root canals.

Yet with the right care, rotten teeth—and having to send two-year-olds to the hospital for costly and painful dental surgery—are largely preventable. What’s behind this scary trend?

Soaring Rates of Tooth Decay in 2 to 5 Year Olds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sounded an alarm five years ago by reporting the first rise in 40 years of kids with cavities in their baby teeth. The largest spike was found among 2 to 5 year olds. In that study, the CDC reported that 28 percent of kids in that age group—of all income levels—had cavities, compared to 24 percent in a study conducted between 1988 and 1994.

Overall, 42 percent of kids ages 2 to 11 had cavities in their primary teeth, and there was also a significant jump in the number of cavities (or fillings) per child. What’s more, many of the kids had untreated decay, which can be extremely dangerous. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse, according to pediatric dentists around the US.