FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new report shows the number of children with tooth decay in California is the second highest in the country.
Good oral health requires regular trips to the dentist.
Coming out of the pandemic, local dental offices are finally starting to see appointments picking up.
"We're starting to see an improvement of that, as of now," said Dr. Rick Jelmini. "It's taken about a year and a half before a lot of the patients are starting to flow back in."
Dr. Jelmini is a pediatric dentist with Jelmini Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in northeast Fresno. He said he is seeing more and more kids sitting in his chairs showing signs of bad oral health, such as cavities.
He believes there are several reasons for this, such as a child's sugar intake. He also believes wearing face masks have made some kids become mouth breathers. This dries out the mouth, but saliva is needed to protect teeth from bacteria.
"The bacteria will now produce an acid and then it does de-mineralize the teeth," Dr. Jelmini said.
Office staff post TikToks to help children learn about preventative care. This is in addition to staying in touch with families ahead of upcoming visits.
According to Dr. Jelmini, dental disease is the number one disease in children, and it's preventable with regular check-ups and molar sealants, which is part of Medi-Cal dental benefits.
"Usually with children, if you have high incidents of cavities in young children, they're going to also have a high incidents of cavities as adults," he said.
More information about children's oral health can be found on the CDC's website.