How Safe Are Kids’ Smiles Today?

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Did You Know?

In the United States, food insecurity has been proved to be negatively associated with untreated caries.

Pediatric dentists see approximately 40% of patients aged 2 to 4 years.

54% of kids aged 12–19 have caries.

When children have their first dental visit at age 4 years or younger, parents will save an average of $360 in dental care costs over the next 8 years.

It’s More Than Just A Rotten Baby Tooth!

Potential complications from childhood tooth decay that parents need to know:
• Life-threatening infection
• Pain that interferes with eating, sleeping, and attending school
• Low self-esteem
• Poor speech articulation
• Bullying at school

Demographic Breakdown 

According to the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, “American Indian and Alaska Native children aged 6 to 8 years are twice as likely to have untreated dental caries in their primary teeth, and five times more likely to have untreated caries in their permanent teeth than U.S. children overall. Mexican American and non-Hispanic Black children are more than twice as likely to have untreated dental caries than non-Hispanic White children.”

Not Enough Fluoride In The Water Supply?

Starting from the age of 6 months, children should begin fluoride supplementation, according to a recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Top Causes Of Early Childhood Caries

• Routinely going to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of any liquid other than plain water
• A diet high in simple sugars
• Inadequate oral hygiene

Place More Conservative Restorations

• Clearly communicate the risks of delaying treatment to the parents of pediatric patients.
• Avail yourself of emerging dental technologies that aid accurate diagnosis.
• Use equipment and materials that support conservative cavity preparations.
• Make preventative care a cornerstone of your practice.


A safe atmosphere is just as important as a safe clinical environment. If you make your pediatric dental practice feel welcoming and comforting both to young patients and their parents, this will help you win their trust.

Your Staff Can Help Make Your Practice Safer:

• Hire team members who understand how to be patient and calm with children.
• Teach the entire office a common “language” of child-friendly terms to explain dental procedures to patients.
• Task reliable team members with the job of checking on various aspects of safety like building accessibility, trip hazards, sterilization logs, emergency eye wash stations, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and so on.

Bahanan L, Singhal A, Zhao Y, Scott T, Kaye E. The association between food insecurity, diet quality, and untreated caries among US children. J Am Dent Assoc. 2021;152(8):613-621.
Nowak AJ, Casamassimo PS, Scott J, Moulton R. Do early dental visits reduce treatment and treatment costs for children? J Mich Dent Assoc. 2016;98(1):36-42
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Patterson Dental

At Patterson Dental, we are committed to partnering with dental practices of all sizes to help oral health professionals practice extraordinary dentistry. We do this by living up to our promise of Trusted Expertise, Unrivaled Support every day.

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