CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two to five-year-olds are the only age group in the country where tooth decay is on the rise.
A campaign called "Dental Home by Age One" hopes to raise awareness about the importance of oral health in young children.
"As an infant, we know they're not going to like us in their mouth, they're going to fuss and cry, but it's not going to hurt them," said Dr. Rena Christman.
Now two years old, Emilu Kotecki first began visiting the dentist when she was about six months old.
Dr. Christman said it's important for all children to visit the dentist as soon as teeth start coming in.
"I feel a lot of families aren't aware that when there's some teeth in the mouth we need to care for the teeth and make sure everything is developmentally normal," said Dr. Christman.
Dr. Christman is one of many pediatric dentists hoping to raise awareness about the "Dental Home by Age One" campaign.
The goal is to have children visit a dentist and establish a "dental home" by their first birthday.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry said children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care.
We all know the importance of brushing our teeth, but Dr. Christman said children typically can't brush their teeth well enough by themselves to prevent cavities until their eight or nine years old.
Mom Jenna Kotecki works with daughter Emilu to help her understand the importance of caring for her teeth.
"Dad helps out, and we sit on the floor and do a little tooth brushing with her. Of course we let her practice brushing," said Jenna Kotecki.
Dr. Christman said cavities are preventable, and early dental visits along with healthy eating and regular brushing are key for healthier children.
Another tip from dentists, even before children get their first tooth, the mouth and gums should be wiped with a soft, damp cloth after feedings.
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