• Florida Family Living

Making a Difference One Child at a Time

By: Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero

Pediatric Dental Disease is America’s most common chronic childhood illness.

  • Cavities can form at any age. Despite parents’ best efforts, 60% of children will have a cavity or filling between the ages of 5-9y/o.

  • Dental caries, gum disease and other oral conditions can cause millions of children pain so severe that it affects their ability to eat, sleep and learn, communicate, and thrive.

  • Children with Early Childhood Caries may be severely underweight because of pain and disinclination to eat. Nutritional deficiencies during childhood can interfere with remembering, problem solving and decision-making process.

  • The mouth can harbor germs that subsequently are aspirated, resulting in airway infections.

  • Dental caries is 5x more common than asthma.

Healthy teeth are fundamental to the overall health and development of a child. Early detection and timely intervention can prevent the need for more extensive and expensive care often required when problems have gone unrecognized and/or untreated.

Did you know?

#1 Mom plays a big role in the prevention of dental disease.

Your nutrition and oral health can help your baby's teeth even before birth. Baby teeth start developing during the third trimester and the first year. Enamel defects are common with low birthweight or illness in the newborn infant.

#2 Your baby needs a to see a pediatric dentist by age one.

Start oral care early and visit the pediatric dentist by the first birthday so that any problems may be detected, treated, or even avoided completely.

#3 Plaque forms every time you eat.

Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. Even if your children are very independent, help them brush. Children do not develop the coordination to do good brushing & flossing until they are about 8 y/o.

#4 Not all cavities are visible to the plain eye.

Floss your child's teeth to avoid cavities in-between teeth. It helps prevent those tricky cavities that can only be seen on X-Rays or once they are big enough to start hurting.

#5 Tooth decay is a bacterial infection.

You can spread it by kissing your child on the lips and sharing food & drinks once the first tooth comes in.

#6 Xylitol is a sugar that helps prevent cavities.

Chewing gum with Xylitol can also help you reduce the amount of plaque and tartar that sticks to your teeth.

#7 Children who receive sealants are 70% less prone to develop a cavity.

Most permanent molars and some primary molars have very deep pits and fissures. Sealants act as a barrier to protect the chewing sides from the acid attack of food and plaque build-up.

#8 More than 25 % of sports related injuries involve the mouth and teeth.

Be prepared to prevent a dental injury by using a sports mouthguard.

#9 Children with special healthcare needs require a different approach to dental care.

Some children with oral aversion, sensory defensiveness, hyper-sensitivity to sensory-visual-auditory input or some other healthcare needs require assistance in keeping good oral hygiene habits as well as specialized dental care.

#10 Children who love going to the dentist will be adults who enjoy oral care.

Most adults who fear the dentist report having a negative experience when they were young. Pediatric dentists provide the setting for a positive experience by allowing children to explore dentistry in a non-threatening atmosphere.


Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero is a board-certified pediatric dentist in Lakewood Ranch dedicated to the oral health of children, adolescents, and children with special needs. She believes in taking a preventive approach to dentistry and helping children achieve their full potential by providing all the necessary tools to achieve optimal oral health. Visit www.sarasotachildrendentistry.com to learn more about her practice.

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