The CDC recently announced that for the first time in nearly 40 years, the U.S. is experiencing an increase in the amount of preschoolers with dental caries after seeing decades of declining numbers. So far, this sudden reversal is being reported across various income levels, with a typical yet astounding incidence rate of up to 6-10 caries per individual. Dr. Burton Edelstein—president of the Children’s Dental Health Project and Professor of Dentistry at Columbia University—concluded that the following percentages of two- to five-year-old children have caries that are “visually evident” to the naked eye (without the use of an X-ray):
Out of all those children, an alarming 79% of them have not received any kind of treatment. The belief is that the rise in occurrence is from an amplified consumption of sugary, acidic beverages—such as energy or sports drinks. Another concern is the fact that most kids do not learn how to change their bad habits while they’re still young, and therefore grow up to repeat the same patterns and continue experiencing the effects of decay.
Unfortunately, this segment of the population is not the only one to see a rising number of caries; teenagers as well as young adults are also reporting an overall growth, possibly because they are the least likely to have dental coverage, and are not always consistent at keeping up with their 6-month check-ups.
For more information on this topic, please visit the information listed on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/ or read one of the original articles on this subject at http://ow.ly/cD2xU.
For CE articles relating to this topic, check out the following courses on managing oral health for pediatric and adolescent patients: