Facts About Tooth Decay
Did you know that pediatric dental disease, also referred to as childhood tooth decay, is the #1 chronic childhood illness? When left untreated, childhood tooth decay can have devastating consequences that extend beyond the dental chair. Rampant decay can negatively impact a child’s overall quality of life, inhibit their cognitive and social development and compromise their growth, function, and self-esteem.
- Pediatric dental disease is 5 times more common than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever.
- Left untreated, pediatric dental disease can lead to malnourishment, bacterial infections, required emergency surgery and even death.
- Pain and infection caused by tooth decay can lead to problems in eating, speaking and learning.
- Dental disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, poor pregnancy outcomes and dementia.
The Good News? Tooth Decay is Preventable!
A Children’s Oral Health Crisis
In the U.S. alone,
- Dental care is the most prevalent unmet health need of children in the United States
- An estimated 17 million children in America go without dental care each year
- More than 51 million school hours and 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental disease, leading to increased educational disparities and decreased productivity
- Approximately 43% of America’s lack dental insurance, including more than 20 million children, almost 3 times the population lack medical coverage
- For every $1 spent on oral health preventive measures, American taxpayers are saved as much as $50 in restorative and emergency procedures for the under and uninsured
- Only 1.5% of 1 year olds have had a dental office visit compared with 89% who have had an office-based visit with their physician
- 52% of new recruits have oral health problems needing urgent attention that would delay overseas deployment
- More than 25% of children aged 2-5 years and 50% of those aged 12-15 years suffer from tooth decay
A Global Problem
Oral health services in many countries are limited.
- Dental decay is the most common childhood disease worldwide.
- Tooth decay is still a major problem in most industrialized countries, affecting 60-90% of school children and a majority of adults.
- Access to oral health services in developing countries is limited, and teeth are often left untreated or are extracted due to pain.
- Dental disease is the fourth most expensive disease to treat in most industrialized countries.
Source: America’s Tooth Fairy