If someone was to ask you what was the most common chronic illness among children in the U.S., what would your response be? Asthma and diabetes would be reasonable answers, as indeed would the rising threat of childhood obesity, but the truth is that while these remain significant health issues none of the three can be considered as the single most prominent. In fact, ECC (early childhood carries or chronic tooth decay) affects more than five times as many children as asthma, and is the subject of a nationwide awareness campaign to teach enhanced prevention techniques to existing healthcare professionals.
Awareness and Prevention: How Can Children be Protected From the Threat of ECC
The campaign, which was led by the AAPA, has been developed to raise awareness about the role of dental technicians in protecting patients from ECC and also the links between general and oral health. In terms of the former, the AAPA have focused on the benefits of regular oral examinations, which allow dentists to check teeth, gums and identify the onset of any potential problems. With dental practitioners also offering to quickly and effectively clean their patients teeth during consistent check ups, it is important that they recognize their duty as the first line of proactive oral care.
When it comes to emphasizing the links between ECC and more general health issues, the AAPA have been quick to highlight the associated oral systemic linkages such as periodontal, premature labor, diabetes and aspiration pneumonia. Not only this, but it has also reinforced the role that dentists can play in recognizing oral lesions and identifying the onset of cancer, which can be easily overlooked during day to day dental check-ups. Given that the link between oral and general health starts during childhood, practitioners need to educate their patients that the onset of ECC can lead to significant long term issues.
Fight ECC With Regular Checkups and Oral Health Routines
ECC has emerged as the leading childhood illness thanks in part to relaxing attitudes in the U.S., and the nation’s dental practitioners have a pivotal role in teaching the benefits of regular dental check ups. It is crucial that good oral health routines are taught at as early an age as possible, as this will help prevent the onset of ECC and affiliated issues such as gum disease and the build up of oral bacteria. This also gives children the best possible start in terms of maintaining their physical well being over a sustained period of time. For an oral exam or regular checkup, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Dan Matthews.