Survey Reveals Native American Children Have More Tooth Decay

In a statement released on May 30, 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced that children born to indigenous populations have more tooth decay and cavities compared to other children. The pediatrician group further recommended that doctors and dentists should pay more attention to these kids' oral health.

A survey conducted in the US, Alaska and Canada revealed that 68 percent of children aged 2 to 5 have untreated cavities. Furthermore, it was also found that 90 percent of the children in Canadian indigenous communities have tooth decay.

Dr. James Irvine, coauthor of the pediatrician group's statement, found “remarkable similarities in health issues and living circumstances of indigenous children in the US and Canada.” His coauthor, Dr. Steve Holve, also emphasized the nature of childhood tooth decay as an infectious disease.

With the outbreak of tooth decay and cavities among kids in US and Canadian indigenous communities, the pediatrician group encourages its members to assume larger roles in tooth decay prevention and recommends the following:

  1. Parents, guardians and caregivers should be adequately educated on proper dental hygiene and sensible diet so that they know what to do with regard to their minor wards.
  2. Prenatal screening for dental health and other dental care services should be made available to pregnant women.
  3. Oral care programs and dental treatment services should be afforded to children. Topical fluoride varnishes, in particular, is what Dr. Holve hopes to become the focus in the treatment of tooth decay in children.

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