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The percentage of five-year-old children in the state of Hawaii affected by baby bottle tooth decay (BBTD) is three times higher than the national average. BBTD occurs when sweetened liquids like milk, formula and fruit juice are fed to babies and left in the mouth for long periods of time, thus decaying the teeth. Leaving these liquids to sit in the mouth for just 20 minutes after drinking the substance can cause tooth decay.
Allowing a child to fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth is a common mistake that can lead to BBTD and after time cause serious tooth decay.
Dr. David Satcher, U.S. Surgeon General, has called tooth decay "America's silent epidemic" and while the effects can be serious to a person's health, prevention is easily attainable.
The Kaua'i Dental Health Task Force (KDHTF) was formed in the hopes of raising awareness in its local communities experiencing this tooth decay and has proposed that residents bring their children in for preventive dentistry as soon as the first tooth appears. KDHTF also promotes healthy habits such as eating nutritional foods and using fluoride in children's diets.
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