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For a disease that is eminently preventable, the focus of childhood dental decay has tended to be treatment orientated and siloed as the responsibility of the dental profession. While contemporary evidence continues to support the effectiveness of prevention and early intervention, dental attendance before the age of 2 years is uncommon. However, contact with other health professionals during a child’s first 2 years of life is high. With this in mind, this editorial introduces a series of articles that outlines why childhood dental decay is everyone’s business, the nature and extent of childhood oral health issues and how we could be addressing the complex aetiology of early childhood caries through a progressive, collaborative approach. Our aim is to highlight the range of contemporary clinical interventions and innovations in prevention. In raising awareness and stimulating discussion, we see many opportunities to strengthen the link between the paediatric and the dental care communities to the benefit of our patients.
The impact of poor oral health is not limited to the mouth, and the repercussions are not limited to childhood. In preschool children, dental caries has been shown to affect body weight, growth and quality of life, such that comprehensive treatment has bearing on psychological, social and educational spheres.1 2 The development of phonics and reading skills requires teeth to tongue contact, a confident smile relies on an intact dentition and quality of nutrition demands masticatory capacity. Moreover, with risk …
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
Author note The article that accompanies this Editorial is the first in a series of four that will appear in subsequent editions of Archives of Disease in Childhood.
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