Canadian Preschoolers Receiving Insufficient Dental Care, New Reports Say

A new study has revealed that less than 1% of Canadian children receive the recommended amount of dental care in their first 12 months, which is causing painful and expensive consequences, according to a May 5 CBC News article.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends children see a dentist within six months of their first baby tooth appearing or by the time they reach age one — whichever comes first.

A study released Monday in the journal Pediatrics showed less than 2% of Canadian children had seen a dentist before they reached 24 months; and among the 2,500 Toronto families surveyed, those most in need of dental care were the least likely to receive it, the CBC News article reported. Currently, about a third of Canadians don’t have dental insurance.

Contrary to popular belief, dental care is extremely important during early childhood, even if parents believe it doesn’t matter because the child’s baby teeth will just fall out later.

The major contributors to early childhood dental cavities were low family income, bottle use beyond 15 months and drinking more than the recommended amount of sugar-sweetened beverages, the study found.

By ignoring a child’s dental care at such an early age, parents are subjecting them to later complications like dental pain that can cause difficulty eating, poor nutrition and poor growth, difficulties sleeping, behavioral difficulties, oral infections and low self-esteem, according to Dr. Anne Rowan-Legg, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

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