A smiling future: exploring the multidisciplinary associations with higher prevalence of tooth decay in minority children
Jackson, Julian Robert Nehemiah
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With over 20 million Americans living in food deserts, it is no wonder why the children who living in these areas are consuming more processed foods. Processed foods and lack of proportional diet can have an adverse effect on the oral health of children and adults leading to tooth decay. Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is the most chronic disease in children and it is especially chronic within children who come from disadvantage backgrounds. The objective of this study is to explore the multiple paradigms of tooth decay that exist within the minority population of children. The mechanism behind what leads to tooth decay will be evaluated in conjunction with other factors such as: disparities within minority children, insurance coverage, and agriculture to demonstrate the high prevalence of ECC within minority children. What goes in a child’s mouth can really determine the state of their oral healthcare, however more times than not children lack the responsibility and depend heavily upon their guardian to get their dental needs met. The development of ECC can lead to more severe problems if left untreated, and currently there is a high prevalence of untreated ECC in predominantly minority neighborhoods where families are typically low income. Low-income means they are less likely to have a primary dentist leading to more untreated ECC, however it is also important to look at the federally funded programs. The government has been able to take strides in helping provided coverage for these at-risk children. ECC is chronic and can be detrimental to a child’s healthcare. What goes in the child’s mouth is also important in that in low-income neighborhoods there are deserts full of no organic options. This can have an adverse effect on the child’s help by their famine nutritional needs. There is a need for new policy to be implemented in order to increase the rate at which children go to the dentist as well as gain access to avoidable options. Although there were limits within this study, there are many suggested improvements and directions for future research to address. In conclusion, although the data reported here supports the conclusion that more evidence is needed that will lead to significant policy reform to eliminate the high prevalence of ECC especially within children coming from minority backgrounds. Positive progress is being made due to the constant support from both the government and community resources as well as dental practitioners who are focused on making a difference in the oral health and overall well-being of children.