In the last Dakota Dental blog, we discussed the CDC report about the oral health of Americans. In it we talked about how the incidences of untreated cavities and of tooth loss decreased over the years, but the magnitude of the decline varied by population group and income level. The study pointed out that attitude about preventative and restorative dental procedures and access to affordable dental care are two factors that influenced the researchers’ findings. This week, we will take a deeper look.
According to the oral health report, at least one in five Americans have untreated cavities, and three out of four have some sort of dental work such as a filling or a crown. The prevalence of untreated cavities grows during childhood and adolescence and peaks in adults between the ages of 20 and 44 years old. Then, the rate decreases again to about 20 percent of adults ages 65 and older having at least one untreated cavity.
Unfortunately, the majority of those with untreated dental cavities include people living under the federal poverty line and people of African-American and Mexican-American descent. Researchers found that nearly one third of African-Americans and Hispanics had untreated cavities compared to less than one-fifth of whites. Further, regardless of ethnicity, adults living in poverty were more than twice as likely to have untreated dental problems.
Dakota Dental Apple Valley Dental Clinic has recognized these patterns within our own community and we’ve taken action to make a difference. As a family dentistry clinic, Dakota Dental participated in the nationwide initiative in February called Give Kids a Smile. Sponsored, in part, by the American Dental Association, the annual event provides free dental care and education for underserved children.
During the Give Kids a Smile event, our Dakota Dental Apple Valley dentists and staff saw about 40 patients and performed about $15,000 worth of preventive and restorative dental services all free of charge. In fact, the entire staff and family dentists at Dakota Dental donated time to make sure underserved children received the dental procedures they needed and the dental care they deserved.