Friday, December 2, 2016
Taking Care Of Children’s Oral Health Is Necessary
In an article in U.S. News & World Report, Jonathan Fielding, MD, professor of public health and pediatrics at UCLA, states that “we are not taking care of our children’s teeth,” noting that “tooth decay is among the most common chronic conditions of childhood,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor oral health in children can cause pain and infections and adversely affect school attendance and learning. Dr. Fielding notes that according to the American Dental Association, there are “more than 125 health conditions that may affect or be affected by oral health, including cardiovascular disease, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, obesity, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.” In addition, the ADA states that children with tooth decay are more likely to have tooth decay as adults. Given this, Dr. Fielding recommends children practice good dental hygiene and make dietary changes, while also stressing the need for additional public health steps, such as expanding access to fluoridated water, applying fluoride varnish and sealants to teeth, increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, and expanding the availability of dental coverage.