Cavities Are Common and Often Go Untreated

Hartford Courant

According to the U.S. Surgeon General's 1998 report on oral health:

* In the United States, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease--five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.

* Fifty percent of children ages 5 to 9 have at least one cavity or filling. By the time they reach 17, the figure rises to 78%.

* Poor children are twice as likely to suffer from tooth decay as more affluent children. Moreover, tooth decay among impoverished kids is much more likely to remain untreated.

* About 108 million Americans lack dental insurance.

* In 1998, expenditures for dental services reached $53.8 billion, or 4.7% of the United States' health expenses.

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