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Calgary, Alberta – If the mouth isn’t healthy, the body won’t be healthy either, but too often the mouth is ignored.
Once known as “baby bottle decay,” Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is the most common chronic infectious disease in children under the age of five. Left untreated, this severe tooth decay can have a significant impact on the systemic development of a child’s body, particularly their neurodevelopment.
A pediatric dentist for over 30 years, Dr. Leonard Smith is the founder and president of The Foundation for a Healthy Mouth Healthy Child (http://www.stopecc.com) and a noted expert on children’s oral health. Under the moniker Dr. Good Tooth (http://www.drgoodtooth.com), he’s dedicated his time to raising awareness that pediatric oral health is about more than just teeth.
“My job is to motivate parents and provide them with a better understanding of why it’s so important to look after their children’s oral health,” says Dr. Smith. “There’s no age that’s too young to start prevention.”
According to Dr. Smith, oral health is inextricably linked to the overall health and wellbeing of a growing child. Unfortunately, 28 percent of children under the age of five have some form of tooth decay; 23 percent of those are never treated. The difference with children is their whole body, including their brain, is still developing.
“It has become so prevalent and there are so many kids who aren’t being treated,” says Dr. Smith. “It angered me the amount of pain and suffering I was seeing that could have been prevented. We’re clearly not providing a compelling reason to the public why teeth are important for our overall health. We’re not going to cure the problem until the public puts the pressure on the professionals."
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