There is a health crisis in America: pediatric dental disease. Millions of children in America suffer in pain from untreated dental problems, affecting their ability to eat, sleep and learn.
As part of our country’s vulnerable, underserved and often uneducated families, these children did not benefit from pre-natal and infant preventive education for parents. They also do not receive quality dental services, including basic parent/child oral health education to help prevent dental disease.
Without proper attention and care, a child’s mouth can become a danger zone, giving way to bacteria and serious disease that can lead to life-long health problems. The social and economic consequences are devastating for the children and for our nation.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, millions of our nation’s children have dental problems so severe they have trouble eating, sleeping and learning. In fact, pediatric oral disease has been deemed a “silent epidemic”.
In fact, children in our nation miss more than 51 million hours of school each year due to dental-related illness.
According to The Surgeon General’s report, dental decay is the most common untreated chronic childhood illness, and it is one of the most easily preventable.
Poor children suffer twice as much dental caries as their more affluent peers, and their disease is more likely to go untreated. Just one-quarter of U.S. children and adolescents suffer 80 percent of all cases of decay in permanent teeth.
One out of four children in America is born into poverty, and children living below the poverty line (annual income of $20,000 for a family of four) have more severe and untreated decay. These poor, non-poor differences continue into adolescence.
Oral diseases are progressive and cumulative, becoming more complex over time. They can affect the foods we choose, how we look and the way we communicate. These diseases can affect economic productivity and compromise our ability to concentrate at home, at school, or on the job.
Source:”Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General” (June 2000) and http://www.ncohf.org/why