Tooth decay is now the number one infectious disease among children. Tulsa dentists tell us that trend needs to change.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says more that 40% of America's kids aren't getting basic dental care. If children don't make it to the dentist, the long term problems can be significant.
They range serious complications like an abscess, to all the appearance problems that bad teeth can cause later in life.
Dr. Charles Keithline of the Pediatric Dental Group says it is a real problem in this area.
"We see about 100 new patients a week and 70% have cavities. It's as bad in Oklahoma as it is most anywhere else in the nation. Kids here need our help," Keithline said.
Dr. Keithline says kids will have much less decay if they get proper checkups. Plus, they shouldn't be eating and drinking all day long.
Other than water, everything we consume promotes the growth of the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
In the end tooth decay is passed on from one family member to anther, but damage is preventable.
Parents like Deborah Barron are doing all they can to keep everyone healthy.
"It's for their health that way so later on they don't have to be without teeth. You know its really, really, really important," Barron said.
With modern pain management there's no longer a need for people to fear dentistry.
Pediatric Dentists say some basic care early in life can save a tremendous amount of expense and discomfort later in life. They want to see children before they reach their first birthday.