In the study, 2505 children near 4 years old were surveyed from 2011 to 2013. The study showed that 39% haven?t seen a dentist.
He said previous studies have found that children who receive preventive dental care in their first year have less dental disease, are less likely to require restorative or emergency treatment and have lower dental-related health care costs.
The study found never having been to a dentist was associated with younger age, lower family income, prolonged bottle use and higher daily intake of sweetened drinks such as juice. With each one-cup increase in the amount of sweetened drinks consumed daily, the odds of never having visited a dentist increased by 20%.
Dr. Maguire said prolonged bottle use, especially at night, and sweetened drinks are suspected risk factors for cavities because the carbohydrates in the beverages promote the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities.
"It's one thing for primary health care providers to be recommending early preventive dental care but for many families this is unrealistic," said Dr. Maguire. "Publically funded universal early preventive dental care just makes sense."