The Sad Reasons Latino Kids Delay Dentist Visits Until Age 16


latino boy at the dentist for dental work
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SaludToday Guest Blogger
Jefferson Dental Clinics

Most kids have their first dental visit by age 7.

For Latinos, it’s age 16.

Why the big delay?

About half of Latino families lack dental insurance. Latinos tend to not prioritize dental health, or they face barriers like high cost, lack of oral health knowledge, and lack of bilingual, dentists, surveys show.

The result is Latino kids with twice as much untreated tooth decay and less preventative care than their peers.

“Unfortunately this disparity is something that carries throughout life, since dental care starts at an early age and impacts the development of the teeth and gums,” says Dr. Leslie Townsend of Jefferson Dental Clinics.

Negligence of dental care isn’t just a “teeth” problem, either.

It causes problems with speech and articulation, difficulty with concentration in school, chewing issues, and lowered self-esteem.

Even prosecution by the law. A Florida mom was arrested for leaving her 4-year-old daughter’s teeth untreated to the point that they rotted down to the gum line.

Townsend suggested brushing teeth twice daily for two minutes each time, flossing daily and making dental visits every six months.

It’s important to clean babies’ gums after feedings, and begin brushing with a soft child’s toothbrush and toothpaste as soon as a child’s first tooth grows in. Moreover, dental sealants applied by your dentist can help protect your child’s teeth from decay.

“Every child deserves a healthy start and the chance to smile and learn,” Townsend said. “It’s important to start dental care at home from infancy.”

Go here for more dental care facts and resources.

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