From Our 2012 Archives
Missing Teeth, Cavities Common in U.S.
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Ethnicity, Income Are Significant Factors in Getting Proper Dental Care, CDC Says
By Matt McMillen
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
May 31, 2012 -- There are fewer cavities in the United States today than there were two decades ago, the CDC reports, but not every population group has shown the same amount of improvement.
According to new estimates released today, at least 1 in 5 Americans has one or more untreated cavities, and the poorer you are, the more likely you are to be one of the untreated 20%, at least among adults.
Non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican-Americans accounted for a large number of those not receiving care for their cavities, also known as dental caries. More than 60% of African-Americans had lost at least one tooth, compared to just under 50% of whites and Mexican-Americans.
"Dental caries both untreated and treated and tooth loss are key indicators of oral health and are used to monitor oral health status in the United States and internationally," the authors write.
The National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the CDC, prepared the report using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for the years 2005 to 2008. The annual survey involves a random sampling of about 5,000 Americans. Here are the report's key findings:
Oral Health by Age
Oral Health by Ethnicity and Poverty Level
SOURCES: NCHS Data Brief: "Selected Oral Health Indicators in the United States, 2005-2008," May 2012. CDC: "Dental Sealants." CDC: "National Health and Nutrition Survey, 2007-2008 Overview."
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