Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting American children. According to a comprehensive study on the nation’s oral health released in 2000 by the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, dental and oral diseases area a “silent epidemic” that extends to the country’s children. The report stated that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting children in the United States, and millions of school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness.
More recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data indicating that tooth decay among preschoolers is on the rise for the first time in more than 50 years. Untreated oral disease has been linked to childhood infections and more catastrophic illnesses, but more commonly tooth decay greatly restricts children’s daily activities and results in frequent school absences.
“Dental care remains a critical health care need for our children, and parents need to learn that good dental health requires more than simply brushing every day,” said Dr. Celestino Perez, a pediatric dentist with Morrison Dental Associates. “Letting parents know about the importance of oral health and helping children to adopt good habits is essential to the mission of everyone in dentistry. When problems are not caught early and treated, they can develop into more severe problems and cause unnecessary suffering.”
At Morrison Dental Associates, Dr. Perez stresses to parents that many of these problems can be prevented by the development of good oral health habits at a young age and regular visits to the dentist. The ADA recommends that children see a dentist no later than their first birthday, but studies reveal that only three out of five children have seen a dentist by the time they enter kindergarten. Because of inattention and other barriers to oral care, 52 percent of children ages six to eight suffer tooth decay according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its Healthy People 2010 oral health update.
Throughout National Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month, Morrison Dental Associates will strive to raise the awareness of the importance of dental health care for children and inform parents about the possible pitfalls of neglecting a child’s oral healthcare needs. Scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Contact Morrison Dental Associates at 354-3444 for more information about National Children’s Dental Health Awareness Month or to schedule an dental exam.