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Parents Should Take Young Children to See the Dentist, Study Finds


A new study appearing in the journal Pediatrics finds that parents often dismiss the idea of taking children under age one to see a dentist. And that’s a major mistake, most health experts insist.

The study was carried out by Dr. Jonathon Maguire and a team of health researchers at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital. After surveying 2,500 families in the Toronto area between September 2011 and January 2013, Maguire’s team found that less than one per cent took their children to see a dentist in their first year.

According to Maguire, it’s a costly oversight. “We see a lot of children that have pain and suffering and long-term consequences from poor dental health,” Maguire said. “It’s really heartbreaking.”

The problem is that many young children are susceptible to cavities because they tend to consume a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages. If a child does develop a series of cavities, they can have trouble eating and sleeping, both of which can retard growth.

Pediatrician Dr. Anne Rowan-Legg adds that parents who don’t take their young children to a dentist also increase the risk that their child will develop more significant dental problems later in life.

“We do know that kids who get cavities in those early teeth are far more likely to develop disease later on,” Rowan-Legg said.

That’s why the Canadian Dental Association recommends parents take their children to the dentist within six months of a baby receiving its first tooth or before a child reaches age one.

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