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The status of children's dental health in Olmsted County.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see a dentist for the first time when they get their first tooth, or no later than their first birthday.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 6:15 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - According to the National Institute of dental and craniofacial research, around 20% of children age 2-5 have untreated tooth decay. That number jumps to almost 25% in children age 6-11.

Area leaders in oral health care gathered at Olmsted County Public Health for the 'Status of Dental Health in Olmsted County' conference, hosted by the Olmsted County Children's Oral Health Task Force and the Minnesota Oral Health Coalition.

"Unfortunately, the access to oral health by children in our county is very poor. Two out of three children that are on Medicaid or government programs do not have access to a dentist," says Dr. Valeria Cristiani, a community pediatrician at Mayo Clinic.

Attendees of the conference agree that education for parents, lawmakers, and providers is key to improving the dental health care of area children.

"Children who do not have adequate dental care, it can affect their speech, it can affect their health, they can have issues concentrating at school because they're dealing with pain in their mouth and sometimes they don't understand what that pain is and may not communicate it adequately to their parents," explains Dr. Kelly Jones, pediatric dentist and owner of Rochester Pediatric Dentistry. "So it's really important that those children are screened and monitored on a regular basis."

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see a dentist for the first time when they get their first tooth, or no later than their first birthday.

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