Significant number of children arrive at The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC in pain due to dental caries and abscesses

    MONTREAL, Sept. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Since January of this year,
280 children have arrived at the Dentistry Department or Emergency Room of the
Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH) of the MUHC in pain because of dental
caries or abscesses. These are emergency visits because the children are
suffering. Of this number, 121 children (43%) are six years of age or younger.
    "This is a deplorable situation," says Dr. Harley Eisman, Director of
Medical Emergencies at the MCH. "We are treating children in diapers whose
teeth are completely rotten. And the sad part is it doesn't have to be this
    Dr. Eisman was responding to the Montreal Coalition for Healthy Teeth,
which yesterday filed a complaint against the city of Montreal, and the Quebec
Ministry of Health for failure to add fluoride to the city's water supply.
    Children are effectively being denied proper health care," says
Dr. Eisman. "By not adding fluoride to the city's water supply, Montreal
officials are ignoring an urgent health situation."
    He pointed to a number of studies that confirm the importance of
fluoridated water for dental health. A report written by the Institut national
de santé publique du Québec (Fluoration de l'eau: Analyse des bénéfices et des
risques pour la santé avis scientifique
( includes a number of studies
about fluoration.
    According to the results of the 1998-1999 Government of Quebec study on
the oral health of Quebec students aged 5-6 and 7-8, Quebec kindergarten
children had 40% more caries than their counterparts in Ontario and the United
States. What is more, the results of an exploratory study carried out in 1998
in three underprivileged communities in the Montreal area showed that 50-70%
of children in junior kindergarten had dental caries.
    In 1991, the Département de santé communautaire de Gaspé did a comparison
of communities where water is fluoridated and communities where water remains
unfluoridated showing a reduced prevalence of dental caries in the range of
18-40% when fluoridation is used. A study done by the U-S Centre for Disease
Control and Prevention in 2001 established the rate of caries reduction with
fluoridated water at 25%.

    You can download a picture of a child treated in the Department of
    Dentistry of the MCH by going to

    With thanks to the Institute nationale de santé publique du Québec for
providing information.

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Dutton, Manager Public Relations and
Communications, The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC, (514) 412-4307

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