WHEN the Study was first projected, its content was a major theme of discussion. It is of interest that the Study Committee unanimously gave children’s dental care a high priority among the items for examination. This decision was significant because pediatricians and general practitioners as a group are not particularly interested or wellinformed in this area of medicine. It may have been their very lack of dental knowledge which promoted this part of the Study.
The question might be asked, “Is the over-all health of children correlated in any way with the condition of their teeth?” In one of the state reports, a correlation was made between the quality of medical services and dental facilities but this does not answer the question of the true relationship between dental health and over-all health. However, the Committee felt that dental health is generally accepted as an important item in a health program for children. Although the exact cause of tooth decay is not yet determined, it is known that restoration of cavities prolongs the life of the tooth.
Areas of Need
The findings of the Study do not tell precisely how much dental care is actually required by children in various sections and communities in the country. However, even without exact information on the amount of dental care needed, it is evident that at present not even a minimal amount of dental service can be offered to every child in the United States.
The study of dental facilities for children shows that even states and counties which have the highest service ratings are unable to provide adequately for their entire child population.
- Copyright © 1953 by the American Academy of Pediatrics
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