11:36 AM

Oral Health Literacy Workshop

Dr. Doyle Williams, Chief Dental Officer

What’s your oral health IQ?

If you read this blog, you know that

  • dental disease is the most common chronic disease among children
  • gum disease can be managed with good home care
  • and both tooth decay and gum disease are preventable.

After reading the news this month, it seems to me that we all could use a refresher course in oral health education.

Just this week, actress Alicia Silverstone made news because she feeds her 11-month-old child by chewing food and passing it directly into his mouth from hers. She may not know this but cavities (caries) are a bacterial infection. Babies most often get the bacteria from some form of exchange of saliva from an adult or another child in their families.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times and NBC called attention to the increase in the number of pre-school children with cavities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this is the first increase in 40 years. Across the U.S., dentists say they are seeing more young children aged five and younger, at all income levels, with six to 10 cavities or more and a level of decay requiring general anesthesia for extensive restorative work. One contributor to this rise in pre-school tooth decay is constant snacking and a relaxed attitude to brushing teeth every day.

I’ve also noted the growing trend for people to use the hospital ER as the first line of treatment for dental emergencies. These patients are paying 10 times as much and not getting the treatment that they would get from a preventive visit to the dentist.