Tuesday, February 11, 2014

February is Children's Dental Health Month

From left to right: Dr. Cal Utke, Dr. Larry Wolk, Katherine Blair, Kate Paul, Karen Cody Carlson, Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, Rep. Beth McCann and Sen. Larry Crowder. Photo credit: Oral Health Colorado
Governor John Hickenlooper recently proclaimed February Children's Dental Health Month in Colorado. "Dental disease is a winnable public health battle that directly impacts the economic and overall health of our state," said Governor Hickenlooper. The proclamation was read on Feb. 7 during Dental Day at the Capitol, an event to bring together oral health advocates, legislators and members of the public to increase awareness of oral health issues in Colorado.

According to Oral Health Colorado:

  • Cavities are the number one chronic childhood disease, even though they are nearly 100 percent preventable. Fifty-five percent of third-graders in Colorado have experienced cavities.
  • Dental care - much of it to treat dental disease - costs Coloradans approximately $1 billion annually, and dental disease carries significant emotional burdens for Colorado residents.
  • Oral health is connected to overall health, with links to heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
One strategy to improve oral health is to provide school-age children with dental sealants to protect their teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. According to the 2011-2012 Children's Oral Health Basic Screening Survey, 29 percent more third-graders had dental sealants in 2012 than in 2004. That's about 6,400 more children with less risk of tooth decay.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment works in conjunction with Oral Health Colorado, a statewide coalition of individuals, organizations and community partnerships, to ensure optimal oral health for all Coloradans.

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