Dental Care Facts

Fast Facts about Dental Care

  • Basic dental care – regular brushing and flossing, dental checkups and cleanings and eating a healthful diet – is important for preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Dental hygiene also helps individuals save money, by preventing serious illnesses, and improve their overall health.
  • While on the whole, American children enjoy the best oral health in the world, about 25% of our nation’s children have 80% of the cavities.
  • Approximately 51.6 million school hours were missed annually by school-aged children due to a dental problem or visit, with 117 hours missed per 100 children.
  • Sealant placement in children and adolescents has shown a reduction of cavities incidence of 86% after one year and 58% after four years. With appropriate follow-up care, the success rate of sealants may be 80-90% even after a decade. Of note, sealants cost less than half of what a filling costs, a good value in view of the decay protection offered.
  • Children’s dental health depends less on what they eat and more on how often they eat it. About 90 percent of all foods contain sugars or starches that enable bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids. This attack by bacterial acid, lasting 20 minutes or more, can lead to loss of tooth mineral and to cavities.
  • Acids present in carbonated beverages can have a greater negative effect (i.e., erosion) on enamel than the acids produced by bacteria from the sugars present in sweetened drinks.
  • While water fluoridation, or systemic fluoride, is the number one, cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay and has been shown to reduce caries between 50-70%, still 30% of communities in the United States do not have fluoride in their public sources of water.
  • The number of preschoolers with cavities is increasing, according to a 2007 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 28% of two- to five-year-olds have decay.
  • Children with healthy mouths have a better chance of general health because disease in the mouth can endanger the rest of the body. Consequences of early childhood caries include insufficient physical development (especially height and weight) and a diminished ability to learn.
Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, 2013 Fast Facts: