The dental and medical world have been two separate entities working toward the same goal, albeit in different avenues, for a long time. That goal is better health for their patient. It is time for the two to combine and truly find a middle ground where we work side-by-side to help prevent diseases that are plaguing our youth.
The unhealthy lifestyles that have worked their way into society are wreaking havoc on our bodies and the healthcare system. Metabolic diseases are at an all time high, and even cavities are starting to climb again after seeing a decline for so many years. When a child is born, an OB is generally the first provider to see them, but shortly after, their pediatrician will become their main healthcare provider. . They then have regular well child check ups until 3 years old. The question is: When do children see the pediatrician again? They will go in for school vaccinations, but generally only visit when they are sick. Here enters the dentist. We push for kids to see us by the age of one or, at the very least, 6 months after the first tooth has erupted. The dental community has been able to have a stronghold on seeing the kids every 6 months after that. By combining our efforts with the medical community we can start pushing kids back to the pediatrician for visits to help curtail behavior that will affect them as an adult. We can screen for obesity, nutrition counseling, and other health needs by simply sending them back to the MD or appropriate provider if there are concerns at their checkup. This way we can use the best of both worlds to try and catch concerns before they become lifelong issues. The best part is that if we can alter eating habits and level of physical activity, it will not only prevent cavities, but make for a healthier, happier life.
Dr. Boyd Simkins, DDS