CDC Report Shows Tooth Decay Rose for Preschoolers, Fell for All Others
Two studies of oral health in America conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that tooth decay in preschool children increased between 1988 and 2004, while it decreased for all other age groups.
The agency's 1988-1994 study shows tooth decay in 24 percent of children from two to five years old. Their 1999-2004 study shows an increase to 28 percent. Tooth decay in the permanent teeth of children six to 11 years old improved from 25 percent in the earlier study to 21 percent in the later. For adolescents 12 to 19 years old, the improvement was from 68 percent to 59 percent.
One possible reason for the improved figures for permanent teeth is an increase in the use of dental sealants. During the first period, 22 percent of children six to 11 years old had their teeth sealed; during the second, 30 percent. Among those 12 to 19 years old, the percentage increased from 18 to 38 percent.
The CDC studies show improvements in the oral health of adults, possibly aided by more frequent visits to the dentist. Among those 20 to 64 years old, 60 percent of those in the first study reported having seen a dentist in the previous year; the percentage rose to 66 in the second study.
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