By Susan Braden
A study by the University at Buffalo in New York noted that nearly 28% of kids ages 2-5 who were treated for cavities in were also found to be overweight or obese. The number of children with cavities is truly rising every year, so parents should consider adding their children to a discount dental plan to help combat the problem.
Research shows that increased consumption of sugary foods and beverages over the years has been linked to the rising rate of oral disease. Anywhere from 5-10% of kids in America now have early childhood cavities. In the study, approximately 71% of the children in were found to consume more calories per day than is recommended for their age group. Childhood obesity affected nearly one in five children by 2008, according Healthy People 2010, more than triple the numbers from three decades ago, and the number of those affected may continue to grow.
Study author Dr. Kathleen Bethin, associate professor of pediatrics at the University at Buffalo, said that little published data exists to link poor nutrition with tooth decay in young children, but the connection has been hypothesized before. Discount plans are available to maintain oral health, but if nutritional health is not maintained as well, children could still face a higher risk for cavities.
There was “no difference in total calories consumed by the overweight and healthy weight kids, so the problem isn’t overeating, per se, just making the wrong food choices,” Bethin said, who is also the director of the pediatric endocrinology and diabetes fellowship program at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo.
Researchers suggest that the dentist office may be an important place to educate families about the importance of good nutrition. The dentist should make families aware of the simultaneous risk for tooth decay and obesity and the necessity for discount dental care. While many people do not link the two issues, a healthy diet is an important part of maintaining healthy teeth, reducing the risk of cavities.
When children are young, it is up to their parents to ensure that they are getting the nutrition and health care that they need. Parents must monitor what their small children are eating to prevent excess weight as well as oral health problems. Children should visit a dentist regularly to check on their teeth and receive advice on how to prevent cavities. These visits can be made more affordable with a discount plan. Knowing the link between obesity and cavities in small children could enrich your children’s lives by both preventing health problems and promoting a healthy lifestyle for their future.