Early dental care encouraged for children

Too many children in Michigan are losing their baby teeth to tooth decay, putting their future dental, nutritional and overall health at risk, according to a recent University of Michigan study.

To address this problem, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation has created a public service campaign urging parents to take their children to the dentist for a first visit by age one.

The project is part of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation’s commitment to help raise awareness of the importance good dental hygiene plays in children’s overall health and the need to make a dental visit by a child’s first birthday.

“The time from birth to age 5 is marked by incredible growth and development. Children’s learning depends on physical health and social-emotional health, as well as their relationships with others and daily experiences,” said External Affairs Director Sean Neall.

“Children who receive dental care by age one have the best chance of growing up cavity-free, yet dental disease in early childhood is considered a national and statewide health problem,” Neall added. “One of the best thing families can do for children’s overall health is to follow the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics and have their children seen by a dentist by age one.”

At the urging of the Head Start-State Collaboration Office, the Early Childhood Investment Corporation commissioned a dental study that showed two out of three parents of young children are waiting too long to prevent oral health problems in their infants and toddlers.

The study, “Oral Health Care for Young Children 0-5 Years: From Research to Recommendations,” was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Children who see a dentist by their first birthday typically have dental costs 40 percent lower than those who don’t see a dentist in the first five years, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The National Centers for Disease Control warn that there has been an alarming rise in tooth decay among 2- to 4-year-olds.

The Early Childhood Investment Corporation is an independent, publicly owned nonprofit helping Michigan rebuild its economy by delivering better education, health and economic outcomes through effective early childhood development.

To read more about “The Case for Infant Dental Care” and the health innovations work of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, visit greatstartforkids.org/content/case-infant-dental-care.