A study just came out concluding that 1 in 4 children under the age of 11 have never seen a child dentist. This is in California where dental education is higher than many other areas in this country and worldwide. In addition, many of these children were covered under insurance or Medicaid, so lack of insurance and cost should not have been a deterrent.
Researchers from UCLA and from the California HealthCare Foundation found that underprivilaged kids were less likely to have visited a childrens dentist in the previous six months – or even in their entire lifetime. Also, Latino and African American kids saw a pediatric dentist less, even when they had the same insurance. One solution was to raise re-imbursement to Medicaid dentists and increase the network of dentists.
According to the study, 54% of the kids who had insurance, 27% of the publicly insured kids and only 12% of the kids without insurance saw the kid dentist within the last 6 months. These numbers are not good. According to Dr. Pourat from UCLA, “Having insurance isn’t always enough, we need to address the other barriers that keep children from getting the help they need.”
As a holistic dentist this is of special concern to me because I know good habits are hard to come by. If our children get used to going to a pediatric dental office, especially a pediatric dentist they like and learn to trust, they are so much better off than waiting till something bad happens or they are in pain and have to go under stressful conditions. In addition their dental health will be better and their home care habits will be instilled early and correctly.
Basically, good habits once instilled never seem to leave you and good health is best supported through taking consistent action throughout life, not just when the need arises or worse yet an emergency.
Please, start taking your kids to the children friendly dental office as early as possible. Usually the best time to start is when they are 4-5 depending on the child. If there is something that needs addressing before, by all means bring them. We view pediatric dentistry as truly important for children to accept and get used to.
If you are looking for a San Diego kid friendly dentist who focuses on biocompatible materials for their teeth feel free to call our office. We have a kid area with puzzles, things to draw with and toys. Kids seem to love coming to our practice and we really enjoy them as well. By starting early, your kids will benefit their entire lifetimes.
Dr. Carey O’Rielly is a holistic dentist in San Diego, California who truly understands and practices the tenets of holistic health, both as a practitioner and in his personal life. His remarkable knowledge of the field came about through years of study and experience, initiated by his own work-related health challenges.