Bad teeth: Kids need general anesthesia to fix cavities

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DENVER -- More and more children are going to the dentist’s office with cavities, and the problems are so bad, they have to go under general anesthesia to fix it.

Dr. Chris Roberts is a pediatric dentist in Green Valley Ranch who’s had several patients in this situation.

“A lot of these kids have 6, 8, or 10 [cavities],” Roberts said. “Sometimes you have kids that have cavities on all 20 baby teeth.”

For a child that young, getting it all fixed at the dentist’s office isn’t an option.

“I probably take on average five kids a month to Children’s Hospital to go under general anesthesia for their teeth,” said Roberts.

Alisha Daugherty is a mom of two who would never want that for her kids.

“That would be really scary to see my kid have to go through that just for a cavity, something that’s preventable,” she said.

Daugherty started brushing her boys’ teeth young, something Roberts said everyone should do.

“They sell infant toothbrushes and you should brush those teeth as soon as they start coming in,” he said.

So when do you know your child can do it on his own?

“One thing Dr. [Roberts] said is that if your child can’t tie his own shoe, you should be going back in there and brushing his teeth,” said Daugherty.

But it’s not just brushing and flossing. What your kids eat is also important.

“Sugared beverages probably cause more cavities than any food does,” said Roberts.

His patients know cavities are a bad thing.

“They mess up your teeth and you have to get them replaced with the gold or silver teeth,” said 8-year-old Daniel Smith.

Forcing your child to brush may not be fun, but the consequences are much worse.

“That is so much better than having to go to the hospital for something that’s preventable,” Roberts said.

If your kids are old enough, Roberts said you can give them sugar-free gum after meals to help remove food from their teeth. He said the youngest child he's had to put under at the hospital for cavities was just 14-months-old.

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