does Childhood Trauma Impact Oral Health

Does Childhood Trauma Impact Oral Health?

As you probably know by now, helping people who suffer from dental anxiety is especially important to us here at Greenville Family Dentistry. When we can put someone’s mind at ease or ensure their comfort before, during and even after the appointment, we feel like we’ve done our job well.

We’re passionate about sedation dentistry in part because we know that, if we can help our patients overcome their fear or anxiety, we can help them achieve optimal dental health. But what are the other things that negatively impact oral health? We know that good oral hygiene habits and a healthy diet play important roles, but are there other seemingly “invisible” factors at work that inhibit oral health over time?

In a recent 2-part blog article series, our friends at the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS) examine whether or not adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can affect a person’s long-term oral health. Not only do they examine the effects of specific childhood traumas, such as divorce or abuse, they also touch on how dental professionals can help mitigate such effects.

We encourage you to read the complete article here – it cites several interesting studies – but here are a few key takeaways from the article:

“Respondents who experienced four or more ACEs had a higher likelihood of inadequate dental care than respondents who reported no ACEs. ACEs were determined by asking about each of the respondent’s childhood exposure to eleven childhood experiences, among them: divorce, parental incarceration, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and emotional, physical or sexual abuse.”

“The results indicated that, ‘The presence of even one ACE in a child’s life increased the likelihood of having poor dental health. Additionally, having multiple ACEs had a cumulative negative effect on the condition of their teeth and the presence of dental caries.’ ”

“The study indicated a ‘significant association between childhood psychosocial issues and dental health,’ and recommended consideration of preventive dental care incorporating routine screening for multiple biological stressors, including ACEs, as a means of identifying and reducing dental health inequities.”

“Considering the potential for sedation dentists to fill, not just teeth, but to stand as a proxy in the role of ‘protective adult’ with the power to make them feel safe, insights into how to maximize that positive influence on pediatric patients—and perhaps restore it in adult patients—is worth a deeper look.”

The above excerpts were taken from the article “The Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences on Dental Care Utilization,” the first article in a two-part series. It was written by Kelly John Walker and first published on Monday February 24, 2020 on DOCSEducation.com. Walker is an award-winning copywriter and Senior Writer and Editor with Strategic Dentistry, the parent company of DOCS Education. He holds a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science from New Mexico State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English Composition.

About DOCS

The Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS) is committed to educating dentists on how to safely and effectively treat high-fear patients. Our membership in this national organization helps ensure that you, the patient, receive the very best care when it comes to our sedation dentistry services.

Founded in 1999 by two dentists, DOCS seeks “to provide a curriculum of coursework taught by a wide range of experts who’ve developed protocols based on studies in pharmacology, physiology and patient psychology. The coursework is offered throughout the year, at various centers across the United States and instructs dentists on the full spectrum of conscious sedation education.”

We’re pleased to participate in DOCS’ continuing education opportunities, and we invite you to learn more about them by visiting their website.

We’re Here To Help.

At Greenville Family Dentistry, we care for you as an individual, regardless of your dental health or your level of dental anxiety or fear. If you are interested in becoming a new patient, you can request an appointment here or call (864) 877-9111 to speak with a member of our staff.

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