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American Dental Association Statement on the Death of Deamonte Driver
CHICAGO, March 2, 2007--We are deeply saddened at the apparently avoidable death of 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, Prince George's County, Md., from a severe brain infection that may have resulted from his deplorable degree of untreated dental disease. This is an extreme example of what then-Surgeon General David Satcher called a ``silent epidemic'' of untreated oral disease in his landmark report on oral health in 2000.
Deamonte's death should be a wake-up call to the nation. It is a national disgrace that in the 21st Century America, millions of children don't have access to basic preventive and restorative dental care. Thousands of these kids suffer from profound dental disease--they can't eat or sleep properly, can't pay attention in school because they're suffering from chronic infections and the resulting constant pain that could have been prevented and easily relieved through treatment.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once said that if you don't have good oral health, you aren't healthy. Increasingly, science is bearing this out. Good oral health isn't just about teeth and gums. It's about overall health, about preventing and controlling non-oral diseases, about learning and development, self-esteem and employability. And it's everyone's business, not just dentists'.
It's time for action to prevent the next child's needless death; to end society's neglect of the oral health of the most vulnerable among us. Dentists can lead the way, but we can't do this alone. We need state and federal public officials to stop shortchanging dental programs, which costs all of us heavily in the long run. We need water fluoridation and the universal availability of preventive care, both of which are surefire investments that produce healthier, more productive young people. And we need to educate all parents about taking care of their children's oral health.
It's too late for Deamonte Driver. We as a nation owe it to our children to fix the system that let him down.
-------------------- Neil Posts: 697 | From Tucson, AZ USA | Registered: Apr 2002
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i thught you were a brain surgeon caveey!!!!!
this story is more dramatic than things really are, unless thing went downhill since i left practice.
almost every school in the county has a dental screening at least 2-3 times while the child in in 1-6 grade. the ada has a large program with this ,and mnay dentist,nyself included, would treat these kids for nothing.
many hygienists, including my own, went to schools, usally paid by the dentist to volunteer in these programs.
caveey, i bet you were at many schools in your career????
parents must take resposibility too. everything in the world has high doses of sugear in it.including cereals.
the dentists and hygienists many years ago had gotten the sugar removed from many cereals, but now, sweet sells cereal, even cherrios has heavy sugar.
this is a professional oppinion from a doctor trained in the field of dentistry, and reflects my personal oppion only. docdave
Posts: 1820 | From Boone and Southport, NC | Registered: Sep 2006
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That is so sad.
You know the same thing can happen with ear infections too.
I once worked with this beautiful little boy, who was "normal" at birth.
Had an ear infection that went untreated. He is now brain damaged for the rest of his life.