Children’s Tooth Decay

Dentistry Today


Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting American children, 5 times more common than asthma, according to a report by the United States Surgeon General. And reversing a half century of progress, recent CDC data shows that tooth decay is on the rise among preschoolers. Untreated oral disease has been linked to childhood infections and more catastrophic illnesses such as the untreated abscess that took the life of a 12-year-old Maryland boy, Deamonte Driver, in 2007. More commonly, tooth decay greatly restricts children’s daily activities and results in the loss of many millions of hours of classroom time each year. “Dental care remains a critical unmet healthcare need among America’s children,” said Mark J. Feldman, DMD, president of the American Dental Association. The ADA launched its national “Give Kids A Smile” program to combat what the US Surgeon General called “a silent epidemic” of dental disease and to encourage parents, health professionals, policy makers, and everyone who cares about children to address this important health issue. The ADA recommends that children see a dentist no later than their first birthday. However, studies reveal that only 3 out of 5 children have done so by the time they enter kindergarten. Because of inattention and other barriers to oral care, more than half (52%) of children aged 6 to 8 have tooth decay, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services in its Healthy People 2010 oral health update.

(Source: American Dental Association, January 28, 2008)