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Paediatr Child Health. 2013 Jan;18(1):37-50.

Oral health care for children - a call for action.

[Article in English, French; Abstract available in French from the publisher]


in English, French

Oral health is a fundamental component of overall health. All children and youth should have access to preventive and treatment-based dental care. Canadian children continue to have a high rate of dental disease, and this burden of illness is disproportionately represented by children of lower socioeconomic status, those in Aboriginal communities and new immigrants. In Canada, the proportion of public funding for dental care has been decreasing. This financial pressure has most affected low-income families, who are also less likely to have dental insurance. Publicly funded provincial/territorial dental plans for Canadian children are limited and show significant variability in their coverage. There is sound evidence that preventive dental visits improve oral health and reduce later costs, and good evidence that fluoridation therapy decreases the rate of dental caries, particularly in high-risk populations. Paediatricians and family physicians play an important role in identifying children at high risk for dental disease and in advocating for more comprehensive and universal dental care for children.


Aboriginal communities; Early childhood caries; Flouride; Immigrants; Oral health; Prevention; Public health policy; Social determinants


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