The Ontario Dental Association Reminds Simcoe-Muskoka Region: It's Time to Improve Your Children's Oral Health



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

    TORONTO, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - 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 dentist Dr. 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 checkups 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.





For further information:

For further information: Rui Manuel Estevao, Public Affairs &
Communications, Ontario Dental Association, (416) 355-2278, restevao@oda.ca;
Bonnie Dean, Public Affairs & Communications, Ontario Dental Association,
(416) 922-3900 x3305, bdean@oda.ca

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