Baby Teeth Cavities on the Rise

Cavities Becoming More Common for Kids Aged 2 to 5

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on April 30, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

April 30, 2007 -- America's children are increasingly getting their first dental cavities before the tooth fairy arrives.

The CDC today released its latest report card on the nation's oral health.

The report shows that about 28% of U.S. children aged 2-5 have cavities in their baby teeth. That's up from about 24% nearly a decade ago.

Data came from two national health studies that included interviews and oral health checkups.

The first study, conducted from 1988 to 1994, included more than 26,000 U.S. civilians. The second study, conducted from 1999 to 2004, included more than 25,000 U.S. civilians.

The CDC compared the two studies, looking for oral health trends.

Overall, the CDC's report shows that oral health improved for most Americans between 1988 and 2004.

For instance, dental cavities declined for every age group except children aged 2-5, and the number of seniors losing all of their teeth continues to decline.

The statistics don't explain why dental cavities are rising in baby teeth. But the study shows that boys, non-Hispanic whites, and youths living in poverty were particularly affected.

"This report shows that while we are continuing to make strides in prevention of tooth decay, this disease clearly remains a problem for some racial and ethnic groups, many of whom have more treated and untreated tooth decay compared to other groups," the CDC's Bruce Dye, DDS, MPH, says in a CDC news release.

Dye was among the researchers who worked on the CDC's report.

Show Sources

SOURCES: CDC: "Preliminary Report: Trends in Oral Health Status: United States, 1988-1994 and 1999-2004." News release, CDC.

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