Report Shows That Dental Health of Children in Region Among Worst in Entire Province

MEDIA RELEASE
February 26, 2009
Toronto, ON - The Ontario Dental Association (ODA) reminds the Simcoe-Muskoka region that the state of their children’s oral health can be improved, after a new report shows more than half of children aged seven to nine in Simcoe and Muskoka region have tooth decay – among the worst ratings in the province.
 

“Children in Simcoe-Muskoka are suffering needlessly because tooth decay is completely preventable,” says ODA President Dr. Larry Levin. “Dentists in Ontario have consulted with international experts, invested in public education campaigns and developed a special report on tooth decay that provides parents the tools and government a plan to move forward and help our children.

In a study released in 2001, Toronto Public Health confirmed that dental decay is the most frequent condition suffered by children other than the common cold and is one of the leading causes of absences from school.

The ODA’s Special Report, “
Tooth Decay in Ontario’s Children: An Ounce of Prevention – A Pound of Cure” gives parents the tools they can use in their own homes to prevent the infectious disease of tooth decay. The report also calls urgently on local and provincial governments to help by focusing on higher-risk children with the following recommendations:
  • Administer community water fluoridation
  •  Improve access to publicly funded programs and services
  •  Application of fluoride varnish
  •   Adopt a sensitive, reliable screening tool
  •  Promote oral health awareness
International studies have shown that for every dollar spent on prevention in oral health care, as much as $50 is saved on restorative or emergency dental procedures. Of specific importance is the lack of water fluoridation in the communities of Simcoe-Muskoka, given its potential impact on the oral health of the population. The municipality must act to help protect its children and add fluoride to their drinking water. Doing so will give the children in Simcoe-Muskoka the same advantage that children in many other municipalities across Ontario enjoy.

“Water fluoridation helps prevent tooth decay – it’s just that simple,” says Simcoe-based dentistDr. Christopher Cottle. “Water fluoridation is something kids need from a very early age. It’s preventative care that will help for life.”

In addition to government action, the ODA special report provides parents with recommendations that can be implemented immediately for the benefit of their children’s oral health care.

Some of these tips include:
  1.  Before your baby has teeth, wipe the gums gently with a clean wet cloth after each feeding. If your baby sleeps with a bottle or sippy cup at naptime or bedtime, fill it with water only.
  2.  As soon as the first tooth appears, start brushing your baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bedtime. Fluoride is a mineral that protects teeth.
  3.  Change your child's toothbrush every one to three months or immediately after an illness.
  4.  To prevent spreading germs that cause tooth decay, do not put anything in your child’s mouth if it has been in your mouth. Don’t share spoons, cups, food or toothbrushes.
  5.  Visit your dentist by the age of one year, or when the first teeth appear. Take your child to the dentist for regular exams to prevent oral health problems from developing.
The Special Report and additional information is available on the ODA website www.youroralhealth.ca and has been delivered to the provincial government.

“Everyone is at risk for tooth decay,” says Dr. Levin. “We have to protect all those kids who cannot protect themselves. The ODA wants to remind the community that when working together, and in consultation with your local dentists, we can improve the oral health of our children.”

For more information, visit
www.youroralhealth.ca.

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For more information:

Bonnie Dean
ODA Public Affairs & Communications
 Tel: 416-922-4162, ext. 3305
Email:
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