Despite what appears to be good news is not that good at all.
The New York Times (3/5, Saint Louis) “Well” blog reports that “cavities in preschoolers appear to be declining and fewer young children have untreated dental decay,” according to a report issued March 5 by the CDC and represents “the first drop in dental decay for this age group since 2007.” According to the blog, “Dr. Bruce Dye, the lead author of the past two C.D.C. reports on oral health, said that ‘only 10 percent of preschooler kids have untreated tooth decay. This is the lowest percentage we have seen in the past 25 years,’ he added.” Data backing up the report are derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
The Verge (3/5) also reports the story, focusing on the CDC statistics as they relate to African-American children. The Verge reports, “when it comes to oral health, black children are twice as likely to have untreated dental cavities compared with non-Hispanic white children, according to a CDC report released today.” Moreover, “About 10 percent of white children had untreated cavities between 2011 and 2012, compared with 21 percent of black children, 19 percent of Hispanic children, and 16 percent of non-Hispanic Asians,” differences that continue as the children age.
The Ulitzer (3/5) carries a press release from the American Dental Association in response to the new data on pediatric caries from the CDC. “The preliminary numbers are encouraging, but they reflect only the first two years of what will be a longer and more comprehensive survey, and we look forward to seeing a final report,” the release says. It adds, “But even if the full study confirms a positive trend, the fact that dental decay still afflicts so many U.S. children is simply unacceptable.” The release stresses the importance of prevention as “the ultimate answer” to dental disease, and points out that “the dental profession is taking action to prevent and, ultimately, end untreated dental disease in American through Action for Dental Health (ADH).”
Not addressed in these reports is that fact that adults over the age of 65 are having much greater decay rates than seen before, a fact mostly unknown to all but the dental profession.