Baby Teeth Cavities on the Rise

America's children are increasingly getting their first
dental cavities before the tooth fairy arrives.

The CDC today released its latest report card on the nation's oral

The report shows that about 28% of U.S. children aged 2-5 have cavities in
their baby teeth. That's up from about 24% nearly a decade ago.

Data came from two national health studies that included interviews and oral
health checkups.

The first study, conducted from 1988 to 1994, included more than 26,000 U.S.
civilians. The second study, conducted from 1999 to 2004, included more than
25,000 U.S. civilians.

The CDC compared the two studies, looking for oral health trends.

Overall, the CDC's report shows that oral health improved for most Americans
between 1988 and 2004.

For instance, dental cavities declined for every age group except children
aged 2-5, and the number of seniors losing all of their teeth continues to

The statistics don't explain why dental cavities are rising in baby teeth.
But the study shows that boys, non-Hispanic whites, and youths living in
poverty were particularly affected.

"This report shows that while we are continuing to make strides in
prevention of tooth decay, this disease clearly remains a problem for some
racial and ethnic groups, many of whom have more treated and untreated tooth
decay compared to other groups," the CDC's Bruce Dye, DDS, MPH, says in a
CDC news release.

Dye was among the researchers who worked on the CDC's report.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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