Preventing the No. 1 Threat To Your Child’s Health

Little girl in pigtails smiles at the cameraPreventing the most common chronic childhood disease takes less than five minutes a day—and it could be something you regularly remind your kids to do already.

This pervasive threat to children’s health is tooth decay, and the numbers are rising—even though cavities are largely preventable. In fact, a shocking new survey released by the Ad Council shows that only 44 percent of American kids brush their teeth two or more times per day, leaving the majority of kids at high risk for costly and painful dental problems.
Some Children More at Risk

Low-income children suffer from decayed teeth almost two times as often as those with higher income, which may have to do with how quickly they receive treatment for tooth decay, and how often they brush their teeth. Only 40 percent of lower-income parents report that their kids brush their teeth twice or more daily, compared to 51 percent of parents with higher income. And about half of all children—and two-thirds of adolescents from lower income families—suffer from tooth decay.

But cavities have been on the rise in all income groups. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that tooth decay affects over one-fourth of two to five year-old children, and half of kids age 12 to 15.