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For Immediate Release:
April 24, 2003

Too Many Peel Children Suffer with Bad Teeth and Gums

(Brampton) - A report released last week by Peel Health reveals a disturbing picture of poor dental health among the region's children.

The Children's Dental Health 2003 report shows approximately two in every five Peel children have had cavities but only slightly more than half of these children have had all of these cavities filled. Twelve per cent of Peel's children have dental conditions so serious they need urgent care, but only two-thirds of Peel children and families have dental benefits or insurance.

"Too many of Peel's children have dental health problems," says Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. "Dental pain, bleeding and infection can interfere with learning in school and lead to tooth loss."

Dental diseases in children can lead to abscesses in the mouth and undue pain which can affect eating, sleeping and general growth and development. Every year in Canada, childhood dental diseases lead to five million hours of lost school time.

"Healthy teeth and gums play an important role in general health and quality of life," continued McKeown. "Dental diseases start early in life and increase with age. All of Peel's children deserve a chance for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums."

In order to effectively address the dental health needs of the region's children, Regional Council has approved a three-pronged approach:

  1. investigation of methods to fluoridate communal well water in Caledon;
  2. enhancement of existing dental health promotion and clinical preventative services offered by Peel Health; and
  3. advocacy to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to fund the treatment of non-urgent conditions for children of families that do not receive any form of dental benefits or insurance and are deemed working poor.

For information on the Children's Dental Health 2003 report or Peel Health's dental programs, call Health Line Peel at 905-799-7700 or visit www.region.peel.on.ca.

Dr. David McKeown
Medical Officer of Health
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, Ext. 2215

Communication Services, 10 Peel Centre Dr., Brampton, ON L6T 4B9 Phone: 905-791-7800, Fax: 905-791-0595 , e-mail



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