The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the United States has said in its latest report that less than 50 percent of children aged between 2 and 17 undergo a dental check-up one a year. This scenario is prevalent even though tooth decay is a major problem in childhood and can be prevented by simple measures.
AHRQ's Medical Expenditures Panel Survey (MEPS) said that 49 percent of the 32 million American children did not get dental checkups in 2003.
* The survey also revealed that most health care professional neglected to advise parents about the importance of preventive measures. It was found that only 46 percent of children aged 2 and 17 were able to get this advice.
* Only about 34 percent Hispanic and 42 percent black children had dental checkups once a year as compared to 59.5 percent non-Hispanic white children.
* 60.9 percent of children with at least one educated parent had a dental check up once a year, while 33.2 percent of children whose parents had only completed high school or less had an annual checkup.
* It was also found that in 56 percent of children the main reason for lack of dental care was financial considerations.
For more details see "Statistical Brief: Children's Dental Care-Periodicity of Checkups and Access to Care, 2003," at meps.ahrq.gov/papers/st113 (PDF) or visit http://www.meps.ahrq.gov