Princeview Dental (www.PrinceviewDental.com), one of Etobicoke’s local dental clinics, is commenting on statistics which show tooth decay and the need for urgent dental care are on the rise in some Canadian cities.
Tooth decay is on the rise in Windsor, Ontario, according to statistics released by public health officials. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 10 percent rise in the percentage of children in Windsor that needed urgent dental care. (Source: Spalding, D., “Tooth decay rates rising in Windsor, say health officials,” CBC News, April 21, 2016; http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/windsor-tooth-decay-fluoride-1.3546919.)
“Tooth decay and gum disease are still serious problems in Canada,” says Dr. Janice Mummery, owner of Princeview Dental. “We often don’t pay as much attention to dental care as we do to other health issues, but child tooth decay is rising in parts of the country. This is a major health concern.”
Another alarming statistic showed that the percentage of children in Windsor who needed topical fluoride treatment more than doubled, increasing by 122 percent. Topical fluoride is administered to protect from cavities and tooth decay, but it is not always a part of routine dental care.
“When you have a two-fold increase in this treatment being used, that’s a big sign of concern,” says Dr. Mummery. “Tooth decay can cause pain, gum swelling, and even lead to the loss of a tooth. Tooth decay can also cause infections, which can have more serious health concerns. This can really have a big impact on children’s health.”
Public health officials believe that the rising rates are due to Windsor ending water fluoridation in 2013. Throughout many Canadian communities, fluoride is added to drinking water to help with oral health.
“Water fluoridation does have many benefits for our teeth,” says Dr. Mummery. “There’s a reason why fluoride is present in most brands of toothpaste and why dentists use it as a topical treatment. It helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, so the rising rates could partially be due to these changes.”
Child tooth decay rates in the Windsor-Essex County are significantly higher than those in most other Ontario communities. Dentists have reported seeing a huge increase in tooth decay cases since the cessation of the water fluoridation. Some dental professionals are calling for fluoride to be added back into the water supply, but others are calling for more research.
“If parents want to prevent tooth decay in their children, proper oral hygiene is really the best way,” notes Dr. Mummery. “That means making sure your kids brush their teeth twice a day and floss. It’s also important that parents ensure their children are using the right brushing technique to properly clean their teeth.”
It is unknown whether water fluoridation will resume in Windsor. While the provincial government is urging all municipalities to use water fluoridation, several municipal activist groups are in opposition.
“Parents can still prevent tooth decay, whether or not water fluoridation is an issue,” says Dr. Mummery. “Regular dentist appointments for your children are the best way to stop dental problems before they get worse. If your children are seeing the dentist twice a year, they have a much better outlook for their oral health.”
Princeview Dental provides services for patients who are suffering from dental emergencies in Toronto, as well as regular oral care for all ages.