Pearls of Wisdom (dhadvocacy) wrote,
Pearls of Wisdom

Oral Health in Children

We are the Pearls of Wisdom, a 5 person group of student Dental Hygienists. Collectively, we have decided to share our voices and research on advocating for children in regards to Oral Care. Over the course of 10 weeks, this blog will be updated once a week with key research revolving around the need, both positive and negative, for access to dental care for those under the age of 18.
There have been many research studies conducted over the years showing a high rate of dental caries, cavities, in children from low socio-economic status. Anne Rowean-Legg from the Canadian Pediatric Society, stated that “Canadian children continue to have a high rate of dental disease, and this burden of illness is disproportionately represented by children of lower socioeconomic status, those in Aboriginal communities and new immigrants.” It has been reported that 57% of children from Canada have been affected by dental disease, averaging 2.5 teeth affected between the ages of 6 to 11 (Rowean-Legg, 2013). Despite this increase of dental disease in Canadian children, families of low socio-economic status have the lowest access to funding as dental care itself has limited funding.
The rate of dental disease in children here in Canada has risen drastically, yet is the lowest funded health care provided. The dental diseases are affecting more than their primary teeth, but can have a major effect on their permanent dentition. The research has proven the need for more access to dental care, for children 0-18 years of age, so why hasn’t the province, or country provided that care to our children? If we are able to recognize this need, how can the government continue to justify low funding? (Rowean-Legg, 2013).

Rowean-Legg, A. (2013, January 11). Oral health care for children-a call for action. doi:18(1):37-43 Retrieved from:

Sharon L
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This is a well-written blog, Sharon. These statistics are staggering and saddening. Children should be one of the highest priorities for health care and the fact that families of low-socioeconomic status are being shoved to the side in relation to funding is inexcusable. The long-term effects of lack of dental treatment will put the future of Ontario at risk. Research from an article by Simmer-Beck, et al. (2015) in the American Journal of Public Health states “an estimated 1 out of 5 children go without dental care each year and 1 out of 6 experience toothache”. The same study suggest the children that miss school because of tooth pain have lower engagement in classes, and low self-esteem. These long term effects can then lead to difficulties finding jobs, diabetes, heart disease and large dental bills (Simmer-Beck, 2015). Is this where our future is headed? I sure hope not. We need the government to increase the dental coverage for children and low-socioeconomic status families so that the future of Ontario and Canada is healthy and happy.

Simmer-Beck, M., Walker, M., Gadbury-Amyot, C., Liu, Y., Kelly, P., Branson, B. 2015. Effectiveness of an
alternative dental workforce model on the oral health of low-income children in a school-based
setting. American Journal of Public Health, 105(9), 1763-1769.