Study says childhood caries decreasing

New data suggests a downward trend in early childhood caries in the United States and indicates progress in ensuring that children are receiving the necessary dental treatment.

The preliminary data, which was presented at the "Innovations in the Prevention and Treatment of Early Childhood Caries" conference on Oct. 23 shows there has been a decade-long trend of increased treatment of caries in preschool children, suggesting a clear shift in untreated dental disease in the U.S. among 2- to 5-year-olds toward more restored dental surfaces for all 20 primary teeth. The analysis is based on a review of 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) longitudinal health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a representative sample of the U.S. population. It was presented in advance of the CDC publishing a full set of data from 2011 through 2014, which is expected to be released next year.

"This preliminary analysis may indicate a promising trend. We are encouraged that it shows far less untreated tooth decay in children, with dentists providing needed treatment," said ADA President Maxine Feinberg, DDS, in an ADA press release. "Dental Medicaid visits have been increasing and more kids are seeing the dentist. Now, we must stay the course, building on that momentum to continue making an impact for children, and expand efforts to prevent dental disease before it starts."

For more information, visit ada.org.
Topics: Oral Health