A new survey testing the dental I-Q of Iowans finds some of us still haven’t brushed up on how to get and maintain a bright smile. Dr. Ed Schooley, a dentist and dental director for Delta Dental of Iowa, says he’s surprised the results came back so poor.
Dr. Schooley says, “It’s still frustrating that even though cavities are 100% preventable, parents are still observing their kids are getting at least one cavity within the last 12 months and of those that had a cavity, 40% of them actually have two or more.” According to the survey, about one in seven Iowa caregivers reported their children had a cavity filled in the past year.
Iowans need to learn, Schooley says, that cavities can be caused by more than just a lack of brushing. “Getting cavities can be passed from one sibling to another or from a parent to child,” Schooley says, “in terms of the bacteria that causes cavities, it can be transferred by sharing utensils, drinks, pacifiers.”
The survey found 67-percent of caregivers say they share utensils such as a spoon, fork or glass with a child. He says parents need to teach good oral health habits to children at a young age to help prevent cavities. “We recommend at least brush the kids’ teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each and that you also floss at least once a day,” Schooley says.
“That’s particularly helpful when you start to get teeth that are touching each other.” The survey found 46-percent of parents report their children’s teeth are never flossed and of children whose teeth are flossed, only 16-percent floss daily. It also found for children who have visited the dentist, the average age at the first visit was nearly three years old.
He recommends children first visit the dentist within six months of getting the first tooth and no later than the first birthday. Learn more at: www.deltadentalia.com.