Why the Kindergarten Health Requirement is so Important
Oral health is a major issue for children in the United States. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children aged 2 to 11 have had cavities in their primary teeth, and 23% of children in the same age group have untreated dental decay. Children in families facing economic challenges have an even higher prevalence of dental decay. Oral care for children is really necessary to look into.
California is taking steps to reduce childhood oral health problems– and Blue Turtle backs our great state in this effort!
California’s Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement
This new law mandates that all children be seen by a dentist prior to starting kindergarten. It is an effort to catch kids whose oral health may be “slipping through the cracks” with the hope that earlier visits to a dentist will prevent dental disease or redirect oral health that needs improvement.
Some kids have already seen a dentist multiple times before entering kindergarten. Others have not. With this requirement, California hopes to reach the many children who are lacking oral care. For those who need it, there is assistance available so that every family can have access to a dental visit regardless of their tax bracket.
Oral care counts with kids
Oral health problems can have a big impact on the life of a child. If a child has tooth pain when they eat– or even drink– this can lead to malnutrition, affecting growth and development. Oral pain can also distract children during school, hindering their ability to learn and may contribute to behavioral problems or social maladaptation.
Pain isn’t the only thing that can impact school performance. Poor dental health often hurts children’s self esteem and lowers their self confidence– this in turn makes them far less likely to raise their hands, ask questions, and participate in their education. Even if they’re doing fine in class, kids with oral health problems may struggle making friends with peers and gaining the critical social education they need to learn about themselves and others.
Dental health problems last a lifetime
Sometimes people incorrectly believe that pediatric oral health is a “trial run.” After all– kids’ teeth fall out, right? Well yes, kids’ teeth fall out– and are replaced– but the importance of oral health remains the same. Studies show that people who experience dental decay in their primary teeth are more likely to face oral health problems as adults as well.
Not only that, but gum health is essential, and no matter what kids’ teeth are doing, their gums certainly stay in place. Periodontal (or gum) disease in adults has been linked with heart disease, pancreatic cancer, kidney disease, alzheimer’s, prostatitis, and more. People who don’t receive the necessary dental care at home and in a dentist’s office are far more likely to experience gum disease.
Clearly, oral care is absolutely critical, not only for kids’ education, comfort, and well-being– but for their future health.
Find the best pediatric dental care with Blue Turtle Dental
One reason Blue Turtle Dental is the best source of family dentistry Palo Alto has ever seen is that we are completely committed to exceptional oral care for the entire family– and especially, getting the youngest members off to a great start. We stand behind California’s Kindergarten Oral Health Requirement, and are working to get all children access to the dental care they need to succeed in school.
The ADA recommends that children be seen by a dentist when they cut their first tooth, or before one year of age. After that, dental visits should take place every six months so that dental professionals can monitor the health of your child’s mouth and catch any small problems while they’re still small.
At Blue Turtle Dental, pediatric visits are easy, quick, and often very fun. We work together with families to ensure that your child is comfortable at all times and that all your questions and concerns are addressed at every visit. We know that a positive start to oral care can set the stage for an entire lifetime of great dental health– and we’re honored to be your child’s starting place.
Schedule your child’s appointment today!