By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – In the past few years, dentists have started to see a significant increase in serious dental problems in very young children.

Dr. Maria Cervantes says it’s not uncommon to see kids, even preschoolers, with a mouthful of cavities.

She pointed to an x-ray of one patient who had 11 cavities; one of which will require a root canal.

“It’s very disturbing,” she said. “Part of our mission is to help these kids to be healthy.”

It’s a problem dentists are seeing all over the country in all income levels.

“It’s completely preventable,” Dr. Cervantes said.

Many dentists believe parents are not paying close enough attention to their kids’ dental health.

Parents are advised to carefully supervise tooth brushing twice daily for at least two minutes at a time.

Diets full of sugar are also a concern. Children should steer clear of sticky foods like candy or raisins which can stick to teeth.

Children should also avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice, particularly at bedtime.

Water can also be part of the problem. Many municipal water supplies are treated with fluoride. If you have well water, or choose bottled water for your kids, you should talk to your dentist about how to replace that protection.

Keep in mind that children should see a dentist by age one, even if they only have a few teeth. It will help to assess their cavity risk.

“If you are a parent, you want to do the best for your kids,” Dr. Cervantes said. “The best thing for them is to prevent the disease rather than try to fix it.”


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