A study out of Toronto has shown less than one percent of children under the age of 1 have received dental care and the longer it takes for that first dental visit the more likely they will have cavities. Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto analysed data on the dental care of 2,505 kids. The goal of the study was to identify factors, both physical and environmental, associated with kids not receiving care. What they found was among healthy urban kids, the most susceptible to cavities were least likely to have been to a dentist.
The study found three factors that seemed to play a role in kids never seeing their dentist — low family income, higher quantity of sweetened drinks and more use of bottles as a baby. Not surprisingly, they were also the same kids who had to get treatment for cavities later in childhood.
The main takeaway the researchers hope comes from the study is the need for publicly funded universal early preventative dental care. The authors also not the importance it is for pediatricians and doctors caring for families to promote dental care in early childhood.
The authors state the children in the study had seen doctors or pediatricians at a young age so it shouldn’t be too much of a leap to seeing a dentist too. The biggest hurdle would be cost and that is why the report recommend a publicly funded plan to make it easier for those most at risk, low income kids, to get the help they need.