The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are fewer cavities in the United States today than there were twenty years ago, however, for some groups of Americans, cavities or “dental caries” remain a problem. Failure to seek restorative dental treatment for cavities can lead to more serious oral health issues including infections, abscesses and even tooth loss.
According to recent estimates, at least one in five Americans has one or more untreated cavities. The National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prepared the report using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for the years 2005 to 2008. The report’s key findings include the following:
- 20% of children between the ages of five and eleven had at least one untreated cavity
- 13% of teens between the ages of twelve and nineteen had at least one untreated cavity
- 25% of adults between the ages of twenty and forty-four had at least one untreated cavity
- 20% of adults over the age of sixty-five had at least one untreated cavity
The report found poverty to be an indicator of untreated cavities. It also cites higher incidence rates of untreated cavities in certain ethnic groups.
Practicing good oral hygiene including brushing at least twice daily and flossing at least one time per day is still the most effective way to prevent cavities from forming. Seeking regular dental care (getting a dental examination and professional dental cleaning every six months) is also important. Other preventative measures such as fluoride treatments and sealants are available to prevent the formation of cavities.
For more information about how to prevent dental caries, talk to a dentist in your local area. If you have untreated dental cavities, visit a qualified dentist as soon as possible for restorative treatment.
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