It's seems like keeping children's teeth clean would be an easy thing to do, but that may not to be the case for many families. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is one of the most prevalent childhood diseases and more common than conditions like asthma and hay fever. The government agency also says that 42 percent of all children ages two to 11 have had cavities in baby teeth and over 20 percent of kids age six to 11 have had cavities in permanent teeth.
Why is this happening? According to Dr. Warren Brill, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), eating habits may be partially to blame.
"We're seeing increases in the rate of what we call early childhood caries (ECC) or what use to be called baby bottle tooth decay," Dr. Brill told USA TODAY. "It develops most commonly with infants and toddlers when they are put to sleep with a bottle in their mouth, put to sleep nursing or walk around with a sippy cup."
Dr. Bill also noted that small children's teeth aren't being cleaned as thoroughly as they should be. Once a child's first teeth emerge, parents should clean them with a fluoride toothpaste.
Keeping kids' teeth healthy also involves paying a visit to an orthodontist. Crooked teeth are hard to clean and are often an underlying cause of cavities. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have their first orthodontic appointment no later than age seven.