Many of us may not be aware that February is also known as National Children’s Dental Health Month. In light of this observance, at the local level it is important for us to realize that it is estimated that nearly 340,000 children in Ohio have never visited a dentist. Oral health (along with many other factors) contributes to our overall health. A lack of attention, especially in children, creates a barrier to taking steps towards a life full of health and quality.
With such a large volume of children in Ohio having never been to a dentist, it has been said by Linda Primrose Barker of Ohio Head Start that the most common unmet health need in children is the access to quality dental care. Dental decay, as well as other concerns caused by lack of dental care, can negatively affect learning, social development, and proper nutrition; this is a major concern because development is crucial for children to succeed. Due to a shortage of dentists in Ohio, Barker has stated that access to oral healthcare can be improved with the utilization of mid-level providers.
For example, registered Dental Practitioners are supervised by dentists and are capable of performing various simple services. This provides underserved children and families the access to the quality oral healthcare that they need. Our oral health is something we many not think about past brushing our teeth or until we need to visit a dentist for a cleaning or to have a cavity filled. However, there are hundreds of thousands of children who do not have that option. Awareness is crucial. As improved health leads to more effective learning and development, we must recognize the successful strategies that we can implement to continue the steps towards better oral health for all.
This article was provided by Public News Service with contributor Mary Kuhlman. Published 5 Feb 2014.