The Crisis

Untreated dental decay is the most common childhood disease and has increased 49% in a five-year period [4]. It affects five times more children than asthma [5].

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.

The Portland metro area has 40% more tooth decay than kids in the Seattle area [6][7][8], and it’s only getting worse. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of dental-related emergency room visits by Oregon’s Medicaid enrollees jumped 31 percent [9]. The health of the mouth is directly related to the health of the whole body.  Diseases of the tooth and gums are linked to ear and sinus infections, weakened immune systems, diabetes, heart and lung disease, and other serious health conditions.  In rare cases, untreated dental disease in children has led to death.

Over 35% of Oregon children have untreated decay, compared to only 15% in Washington [10][11][12], and Oregon ranks near the bottom among all states for childhood oral health.

We can put a stop to this crisis with a simple safe, effective and affordable solution: water fluoridation.