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Health experts highlight need for improved dental care among indigenous populations
Updated: 6/7/2011 4:59:59 PM

Improving children U.S. and Canadian health experts recently released a statement encouraging pediatricians to be aware of poor oral health among their indigenous patients. This is because individuals who live in these communities often lack adequate resources for dental care and, therefore, experience serious health complications as a result of neglected oral problems.

According to an article published by Medical News Today, more than 90 percent of children have tooth decay in some Canadian indigenous communities, and the statistics are similar for those who live in the U.S.

The news provider reported that 68 percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native children between the ages of 2 and 5 had untreated early childhood caries, which is three times the rate found in the general population.

"The influence of early childhood caries on overall childhood health and well being goes well beyond the mouth, and many of our indigenous children have not benefited fully from the many advances to improve oral health in North American children," said statement co-author James Irvine, quoted by the news source.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 78 percent of U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 17 visited a dentist within the previous year.

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