Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, affecting five times more children than asthma . Tooth decay among children is a major concern, often causing severe pain and infection, which in turn can affect a child’s school attendance and success, nutrition, speech development, self-esteem, and general health.
Worst in the Region
Oregon children suffer from higher rates of untreated tooth decay than all neighboring states. Over 35% of Oregon children have untreated decay compared to only 15% in Washington, and Oregon ranks near the bottom among all states for childhood oral health .
School Children Suffer
Children experiencing dental pain are likely to be distracted and unable to focus in class or on their homework. Dental decay is a leading cause of student absenteeism.
The latest statewide survey shows untreated tooth decay increased 49% in Oregon from 2002 to 2007. More than one in three children are living with untreated decay, and one in five children suffer from rampant decay (with seven or more teeth affected) .
Dental Decay is Costly
Nearly one in six second graders in Oregon have already had cavities in their permanent, ‘adult’ teeth. Decay in a permanent tooth requires a lifetime of retreatment . Out-of-pocket dental expenses account for more than 1/4th of all out-of-pocket medical expenses .
Decay is Preventable
There is no reason to accept dental decay. Prevention (education, dental exams, fluoride) is the most cost-effective response to end the pain, suffering, and expensive costs associated with cavities.