Dentists urged to take a role in identifying children suffering from neglect

August 18, 2009

A new policy urging dentists to check for tell-tale signs of neglect when treating children with severe oral disease has been published.

Dr Peter Sidebotham from the University of Warwick has co-authored the policy document on dental neglect in children for the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry.

Dental neglect is defined as the persistent failure to meet a child's basic oral health needs. Oral disease can have a significant impact on the health of a child. Consequences can include , loss of sleep and even reductions in body weight and growth.

Dental neglect can be indicative of a wider welfare picture of child neglect and abuse and the policy states that dentists should refer cases to child protection services if they have concerns.

The document, thought to be the first of its kind in Europe, is the result of a collaboration between the University of Warwick, University of Sheffield and Leeds Dental Institute.

Dr Sidebotham said: "There is evidence which indicates that abused children have higher levels of untreated dental disease than their non-abused peers. Many dentists have taken part in child protection training, but still find it difficult to put into practice what they have learned when they suspect abuse."

The policy details the numerous factors that need to be taken into account when assessing a child with suspected dental neglect and given guidance on how the dental team should respond.

Dr Sidebotham added: "I am impressed by how much dentists already do to educate and support parents. But when concerned that a child is suffering, perhaps as a result of missed appointments, I would always encourage them to seek advice from other health professionals experience in child protection and , if necessary, to make a child protection referral."

Source: University of Warwick (news : web)

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not rated yet Aug 18, 2009
So, if a parent takes their child in to have their teeth taken care of and the dentist decides the child's teeth have been neglected, then the parents can be investigated? Just one more example of how the country will change if the CRC is passed.

Sorry, but now I'm going to have to launch into this... For those of you who are not aware, the CRC is a UN movement that most countries have signed already, but the US has not. Although one hopes it was not intended as such, it has been used in numerous ways that allow the government to be the ultimate source of authority over children. This means religion, how much free time your children have, whether you administer vaccinations (you will be jailed if you don't do it), etc. Literally any decision a parent makes that they deem incorrect can lead to the children being taken away and/or the parents jailed.

Yes, this has been the exception rather than the rule. But it HAS been used that way in the countries that have ratified it. Given the abuses of power already in place by our government via social services (again power hungry exceptions, but still a problem), I hate to think what such an open ended agreement would do. It gives the government free reign to override any of your decisions.

By the way, it also trumps our own constitution. Where the CRC is in conflict with the US constitution, the CRC takes precedence (Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 27: "A party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty." Another section states, "No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.") There are currently 114 Congressional cosponors on board so far, so this really is an issue everyone should be aware of.

If you want more info, please visit I realize that you may not agree with everything on the website - they can be sensationalist - but there is plenty that I believe will concern you if you're a parent. Also, I encourage you to do more research on this outside of the website I've listed to see all views. Thanks! Off my soapbox now...

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