Ethnicity and Dental Caries
Poverty is not the only factor that can negatively impact dental health. According to the CDC "Black, non-Hispanic children and Hispanic children of Mexican origin had significantly higher percentages of untreated cavities than white, non-Hispanic children." The 2001-2004 data indicates that within the 2 to 5 year age bracket, 24.2 percent of black and non-Hispanic children and 29.2 percent of Hispanic children (of Mexican origin) had untreated cavities while white children had significantly lower levels at 14.5 percent. The same balance was seen in adolescents aged 6 to19; untreated dental caries were present in 28.1 percent of black, non-Hispanic children, 30.6 percent of Hispanic children and 19.4 percent of white kids.
Overall, the findings determined that sex did not play a significant factor in levels of tooth decay for those under age 19. However adolescents had higher levels of cavities then the younger children in the study.
How to Fight Tooth Decay
Despite the grim statistics, the great news is that children, regardless of their demographics, can improve their odds of developing the disease by brushing and flossing on a daily basis, eating a nutritious diet, drinking water and seeking professional dental exams and dental treatments administered by a dentist.
Health care reform is working towards making dental care more accessible to kids living below the poverty line. The Pediatric Dental Benefit is part of the bill that was signed into law by President Barack Obama and will automatically provide children aged 21 and below with complimentary basic oral health care.
For individuals lucky enough not to have to rely on the government for their basic dental care needs, 1-800-DENTIST can make finding a skilled dental care practitioner fast and easy. Parents looking for either a general dentist or family dentistry expert to improve the oral health of their children can call us 24/7 and receive the contact information of a vetted dentist, up to the task of serving the dental health needs of their family and loved ones.