Oral Health Good for Life

Oral health is an integral part of general health. As healthcare professionals, primary health care providers are often the first point of contact in primary care for infants and young children. Reminding parents and caregivers of the importance of oral health can be an essential part of the regular examination of children.  

Health Risks of Poor Oral Health for Young Children

According to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), hospital outpatient dental surgery for early childhood caries constituted 31% of all day surgery for children age 1 to 4, making it the leading cause of day surgery for children in this age group.

The consequences of untreated early childhood caries can be significant. Pain, difficulty eating and sleeping, speech difficulties and poor self-esteem may occur. Untreated ECC can affect growth and the ability to learn, communicate and socialize. Canadian evidence also suggests that children with severe early childhood caries are more likely to be anemic, iron deficient, and vitamin D deficient. The quality of life of our youngest and often most vulnerable members of our society can be seriously compromised and yet early childhood caries is totally preventable.

Visiting the dentist within the first 12 months or within 6 months of the first tooth erupting is a dental best practice to help reduce the incidence of early childhood caries.

While tooth decay is preventable, good oral health begins at birth and has a proven effect on overall health.