Report Shows Oral Health Improvements for Most Americans

There is a lot of good news and some not-so-good news about the oral health of the nation, according to a report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the report, "Trends in Oral Health Status — United States, 1988-1994 and 1999-2004," there have been significant improvements in oral health for Americans of all ages.

More seniors are keeping their natural teeth; moderate to severe periodontitis among adults has decreased significantly; use of dental sealants in youths ages 6-19 years has increased; tooth decay in school-age children has declined; and children from low-income families appear to be getting more dental treatment.

Yet the report, based on data from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics — which represents the most comprehensive assessment of oral health data available for the U.S. population to date — reconfirms economic and racial/ethnic disparities in oral health persist.

Thirty-one percent of Mexican American children aged 6-11 years have experienced decay in their permanent teeth compared to 19 percent of non-Hispanic white children. Twelve percent of children aged 6-11 from families that live below the poverty line had untreated decay, compared to 4 percent in families with income above the poverty line.

The report also records an increase in tooth decay in the primary teeth of children aged 2-5 years, from 24 percent to 28 percent.

"This report shows that while we are continuing to make strides in prevention of tooth decay, this disease clearly remains a problem for some racial and ethnic groups, many of whom have more treated and untreated tooth decay compared with other groups," said Dr. Bruce A. Dye, a NCHS dentist and the report's lead author.

© American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

Help your mouth age gracefully

Taking care of your mouth is still as important as ever. Try one of our products to help keep smiles healthy at any age.