Your pediatric dentist in Vancouver knows that a great start to dental health could make a lifetime of difference.

Unfortunately, not all kids have equal access to dental health resources. In fact, many have not had a dental appointment by the time they start school. But public officials are addressing this issue. California’s Kindergarten Oral Health

requirement is one step state officials in the West are taking to ensure that the youngest members of our community are getting the health care they need to success.

What is the Kindergarten Oral Health requirement?

Essentially, the law is what it sounds like: kindergarteners must have proof of a dental appointment with an oral health professional prior to matriculating into kindergarten. To facilitate this goal, the state is providing financial assistance for qualifying families so that each child has access and numerous dental clinics have stepped up to help as well.

Why the emphasis on oral health?

Teeth and gums can sometimes get neglected in a family’s perception of good health– which often focuses on nutrition and exercise– but early oral health care is absolutely critical for children.

Studies have shown that children who receive regular dental care by a professional are less likely to have cavities– even as adults. And not only this, but avoiding cavities throughout their life greatly increases the chances of avoiding gum disease as well. Gum disease has been linked with several systemic diseases, like cardiovascular disease or alzheimer’s– these might not be high on a pediatrician’s radar, but they certainly will affect today’s kids after they’ve grown. Dental care sets kids up for success in their personal health.

In addition, oral health care has several psychosocial variables that play an important role for kids as they develop. A clean, healthy mouth gives children a healthy self image and confidence when relating with peers or in the classroom. Learning how to brush and floss also empowers kids to take charge of their health.

Potential risk factors

Because they’re still learning– and distracted by a lot more of life’s interesting things– kids can sometimes be at extra risk for developing a dental problem. This is especially true if the child’s parents didn’t learn how to properly care for their teeth, and so aren’t sure how to help their own children.

Having educated and helpful parents makes a huge difference to kids’ success, but so does diet. At the moment, children in the US eat a diet that is unprecedented in its sugar content– and that sugar has very real impacts. Besides increasing the waistlines of even the very young, sugar feeds the bacteria who are responsible for oral cavities.

If a child has a combination of poor diet and a less-than-adequate help with oral care, this can place him or her at higher risk for dental disease. And this is why California is motivated to set dental check-up standards in place: to keep these kids from falling through the cracks and get them the oral health they deserve.

In the meantime…

Patients of Must Love Kids know that preventative hygiene measures are the best way to keep our kids healthy and to teach them how to care for their oral health. For tips on how to teach your child the best brushing method, or encourage him or her to floss, give us a call today and schedule your next appointment with your pediatric dentist in Vancouver.