Dental decay is an infectious disease caused by a bacterial infection.
Dental decay is the single most common persistent disease in American children.
Dental decay can start as soon as an infant’s first tooth appears.
Severe tooth decay is a common finding in infants and children that drink from bottles or training cups, containing milk or juices, frequently throughout the day and night.
The recent deaths of two American boys from complications of dental decay have highlighted the need for dental care and especially the need to prevent dental disease.
One in four Washington pre-schoolers has untreated dental decay and 59% of our states second and third grade children have experienced dental decay; and, unfortunately, both of these figures are higher than the national average.
Dental decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.
Poor children suffer from twice as much dental disease as other American children.
Four to five million American children have dental disease that limits them in some daily activity.
Twenty million American children do not have any type of dental coverage.
Children experience pain from diseased teeth the same as an adult; the only difference is that many children can’t communicate this because they have either continually felt pain and do not know what it feels like not to feel pain, or because they don’t yet have the ability to talk or communicate.
Dental disease affects health and well-being throughout life. The health of the mouth reflects general health and well-being.
Dental disease is avoidable. Safe and effective measures exist to prevent the most common dental diseases – dental decay and gum disease.
Dental diseases are associated with other health problems.
Dr. Dixon, a pediatrician, says infection anywhere in the face or head should be taken seriously, especially when children are involved. When he was asked to comment on the death of Alexander Callendar, a six year old boy, resulting from a tooth infection he said, “Infection anywhere in the face area, or the teeth, we’re concerned about that progressing into the sinuses or causing a brain abscess, and it’s hard to know how quickly that will occur.”
For over 60 years, water fluoridation has proved to be a safe and cost-effective way to reduce dental caries. Today, water fluoridation is estimated to reduce tooth decay by 20-40%.
Scientific research continues to support the benefits of fluoride when it comes to prevention of tooth decay and its safety. Dramatic reductions in tooth decay in the past 30 years is attributed to fluoridation of the water supply, and parents and health professionals should continue to ensure that kids receive enough fluoride to prevent cavities.
The American Dental Association (ADA), the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), and the World Health Organization (WHO), among many other national and international organizations, endorse community water fluoridation. The Centers for Disease Control recognized fluoridation of water as one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century.