Bright Smiles Montana

Though the disease of dental caries (cavities) is nearly 100% preventable, it remains the most prevalent chronic childhood disease — five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Children cannot have total health without oral health and poor childhood oral health often carries into adulthood. Sadly, children who endure this preventable infectious disease suffer a higher rate of lost school hours, pain, failure to thrive, poor self-esteem and dental anxiety.

“Early Childhood Caries” (ECC) is a severe form of tooth decay found in infants, toddlers and preschoolers. It goes by many different names such as “baby bottle tooth decay”, “bottle rot” and “nursing caries”. ECC is preventable and if identified early enough can even be reversed. Children who develop ECC frequently require general anesthesia (“go to sleep”) to get their teeth fixed. Tragically, fixing their teeth does not cure the disease and 53% of children have new decay in 2 years and 17% require general anesthesia again in order to get their teeth fixed. The cost to fix a child’s mouth under general anesthesia can reach near $10,000.

In order to address what the office of US Surgeon General has referred to as a “silent epidemic”, leading health organizations, including the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), have all agreed that comprehensive dental care should begin no later than age one. These organizations strongly support the use of caries-risk assessment (CRA) tools to establish personalized oral disease prevention plans for pediatric patients and their caregivers. Additionally, organizations such as the ADA, AAPD, the American Collage of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) have all recommended that good oral health should begin before birth and that women should obtain and maintain dental health during pregnancy.

Bright Smiles Montana is an endeavor supported by the Montana Dental Association and the Montana Oral Health Foundation. The goal of Bright Smiles Montana is to ensure that all of Montana’s children have healthy, happy smiles free of pain and disease.

This website offers dental professionals, medical professionals and families advanced knowledge and training in perinatal and young child oral health. Please see the tabs at the top of the page or to the right.

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