Tooth decay a silent epidemic in Colorado kids

DENVER - Tooth decay is the most common chronic infection in children. It is often called "the silent epidemic" because often times it goes unnoticed until their pearly whites are in peril.

In Colorado, 28 percent of children ages 2 to 5 have already experienced tooth decay. But a local program is trying to keep kids cavity free before the age of three.

At Children's Hospital Colorado, thousands of kids are visiting the operating room every year for surgery to repair their decaying teeth. The hospital's infant oral program -- "Cavity Free at Three" --is trying to change all that. It's a program made possible by grants from Delta Dental Colorado.

"We're already seeing cavities in children in as young as two. Some of them even younger," said Valerie Haustein, Dental Services Coordinator at Cavity Free at Three.

"Eighty percent of the tooth decay is in 20 percent of the kids. And almost all of those kids come from households with low income," Haustein said. 

Megan Perry drove all the way from Fort Morgan with her two little girls, both under the age of three.

"I figured I'd just bring them all the way up here so I know they're going to be in good hands," she said.

It's her daughters' first visit to the dentist and already the dentist is seeing spots and cavities.

"Soon as that first tooth comes in, that's when we need to see your child." said Haustein

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