Delay Decay, Forever

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I recently went home to Edmonton, Canada, to visit family for the holidays. My older sister and brother-in-law had their toddler with them, which really enlivened the mood. Still being in college myself means I’m nowhere near ready to have kids or even consider them yet. My sister admitted openly that children change things radically, which is no surprise, although I’m sure the real thing is far more intense.

During my stay, we had a number of discussions about proper healthcare for children. It’s something I took for granted because I have no memory of my own earliest years and never bothered to ask my parents about them, at least in the context of my health. I was surprised to learn that affordable healthcare isn’t necessarily guaranteed for kids and many suffer from preventable conditions. Is that a widespread thing?

Experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) report that child mortality rates have steadily declined in certain areas while increasing or stagnating in others. As you might expect, the best and most reliable health care is primarily concentrated in Europe and similarly Western nations, despite the fact the those countries contain only a fraction of the global population.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might have you believe that children in the US are receiving fairly adequate healthcare, but the truth is much more complicated. PEW reports that there are glaring disparities in the American healthcare system, especially when it comes to low-income, minority, and rural children. While some proportion of cases are the result of parental neglect, the grand majority in the US appear to have more to do with systemic access and financial means. In other words, yes: healthcare disparities are certainly widespread, but they shouldn’t be, and there are already those dedicated to solving the problem.

Another controversial issue is dental health, which is often overlooked but can have a tremendous impact on systemic health, according to scientists at the Mayo Clinic. General health aside, proper dental hygiene can also impact quality of life. In Western cultures especially, the open smile is considered central to personal appearances and intimate attraction. All the more reason to take dental health as seriously as general bodily health.

The most important thing to remember is developing proper habits and cultivating a healthy lifestyle. This should begin at a very young age. For instance, if your sister hasn’t already explored her options, now is an ideal time to search for pediatric dentistry or orthodontics in Edmonton. Adults can be trickier because some seem convinced that dental health and hygiene aren’t all that important. A 2014 survey conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) found that 30% of adults don’t brush their teeth frequently enough. This stands in the face of both logic and what the vast majority of parents taught them.

And that’s exactly why developing healthy habits is so crucial to long-term dental health. Only a combination of personal responsibility and bureaucratic change can address the issue and deliver the promise of the Healthy People 2020 objectives.

“Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.” – Dalai Lama

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