Children face looming dental crisis

A painful measure of inequality exists among students in nearly half of this city’s elementary schools, new data obtained by the Toronto Star shows.

Toronto Public Health hygienists looked inside the mouths of nearly 220,000 students from junior kindergarten to Grade 8 last year as part of an annual free dental health screening program in schools. In the process, 44 per cent of schools were designated “high risk” based on the rotting condition of children’s teeth.

“Sometimes the children have been complaining of pain, sometimes they haven’t been because they’ve been living with the pain so long they can’t tell otherwise,” said Dr. Michele Wong, a manager of dental and oral health services for Toronto Public Health.

Photographs of students’ mouths taken during dental screenings portray a startling picture of a public health problem in Toronto that has flown under the radar for years. Broken teeth. Bubbling abscesses. Dark pools of leathery decay.

Root canals are “not uncommon” among these children, said Wong, who started working as a dentist in the public health clinics in 1994. “Seeing a 6-year-old with cavities in every single tooth they have — that’s pretty heartbreaking as well.”

At two schools in North York, nearly one out of every two students was suspected of having a cavity. At Grenoble Public School in Flemingdon Park, a “high-priority” area where the student population represents more than 73 different languages, more than a quarter of these children required urgent care….(more).

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SOURCED: By: News reporter, Published on Mon May 05 2014