AAPD Releases Second Edition of the "State of Little Teeth Report"

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 General News
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Children's Oral Health Is Facing Many Challenges, and Here's What You Can Do About It

CHICAGO, Feb. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the leading authority on children's

oral health, in recognition of National Children's Dental Health Month, announced the release of the second State of Little Teeth Report.  This second iteration draws on the latest scientific research and examines the public health crisis of tooth decay among U.S. children through the lens of the current healthcare policy landscape.  The report also explores a variety of solutions for pediatric dentists, parents and our nation's leaders.   

In 2014, the AAPD issued the first-ever "State of Little Teeth Report," which examined the epidemic of tooth decay among our youngest children, studied the immediate and long-term health, social and economic effects and implications of the federal Affordable Care Act for pediatric oral health, and provided solutions and recommendations for halting the increase of tooth decay in children.

Key findings from the 2019 Report include:

  • Although the prevalence of tooth decay has decreased overall, there is significant room for improvement.  In the U.S., tooth decay affects:
    • Nearly 1 in 5 children under the age of 5
    • About half of children aged 6-11
    • More than half of those aged 12-19
  • Children living in poverty are twice as likely to suffer from tooth decay, and their dental diseases are more than twice as likely to go untreated as their more affluent peers.
  • Treatment of severe tooth decay can cost $10,000 per child and up to $25,000 in severe cases, especially if the child needs to be hospitalized and treated under general anesthesia. 

Even though more children are visiting the dentist than ever before, many children have difficulty accessing pediatric dental services. Tooth decay in young children continues to be a concern globally, and this public health crisis poses an immediate and long-term threat, not just to the teeth of young children, but to their overall health and development. 

"Tooth decay is nearly 100 percent preventable," says Dr. Joseph Castellano, president of the AAPD. "Early dental visits, combined with good dental habits and dietary practices, can slow the decay process in children. In addition, a preventive approach to oral health makes dental care safer, more comfortable and even more affordable. It's our hope that this report provides the basis for a meaningful discussion about the challenges facing the oral health of our children and what we can do about it."

Establishing a Dental Home with a pediatric dentist is key to preventive oral care, and it will lead to beneficial oral health habits for life, as pediatric dentists work to improve children's dental health year round. They actively advocate for children by leading efforts to protect water fluoridation, serving young children through organizations like Head Start, promoting public health activities, and testifying to legislatures on bills affecting access to dental care.

According to this latest report, the tooth decay epidemic can be at least partially remedied by earlier and regularly scheduled dental visits for more children, achieved through advocacy by pediatric dentists, collaboration with primary care medical providers, education for parents, and removal of such barriers as transportation and language that prevent patients from visiting a dentist.  Continued reform and improvement of public insurance programs will protect dental visits by children most susceptible to dental disease.  As a result of these efforts, more children can enjoy a lifetime of better oral health.

About the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is the recognized authority on children's oral health. As advocates for children's oral health, the AAPD promotes evidence-based policies and clinical recommendations; educates and informs policymakers, parents and guardians, and other health care professionals; fosters research; and provides continuing professional education for pediatric dentists and general dentists who treat children. Founded in 1947, the AAPD is a not for-profit professional membership association representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry. Its 10,500 members provide primary care and comprehensive dental specialty treatments for infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special health care needs. For further information, visit the AAPD website at http://www.aapd.org or the AAPD's consumer website at http://www.mychildrensteeth.org.


Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aapd-releases-second-edition-of-the-state-of-little-teeth-report-300794790.html

SOURCE American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

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