Trends in dental caries in children and adolescents according to poverty status in the United States from 1999 through 2004 and from 2011 through 2014

Orignial Post Link: http://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(17)30348-3/fulltext


Abstract

Background

Except for a small increase in caries prevalence in young children from 1999 through 2004, the prevalence of pediatric caries in the United States has remained consistent for the past 3 decades.

Methods

The authors used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (from 1999 through 2004 and from 2011 through 2014) to ascertain changes in caries prevalence in youth aged 2 to 19 years. The authors evaluated changes in the prevalence of caries experience, untreated caries, and severe caries (3 or more teeth with untreated caries) in the primary, mixed, and permanent dentition according to poverty status.

Results

Untreated dental caries in the primary dentition decreased (24% versus 14%) for children aged 2 to 8 years regardless of poverty status from the period from 1999 through 2004 to the period from 2011 through 2014. Severe caries in primary teeth decreased between the period from 1999 through 2004 and the period from 2011 through 2014 for 2- to 8-year-olds (10% versus 6%). Among preschool-aged children in families with low incomes, caries experience decreased from nearly 42% to 35%, and untreated caries decreased from 31% to 18%. Furthermore, there were significant reductions in the number of carious dental surfaces and significant increases in the number of restored dental surfaces. Overall, there was little change in the prevalence of caries in older children and adolescents.

Conclusions

The prevalence of caries in primary teeth in preschool-aged children has improved in the previous decade in the United States; however, the prevalence of having no caries experience in permanent teeth in children and adolescents remains unchanged.

Practical Implications

Although the oral health status of young children has improved in the previous decade, few changes have occurred for many older children and adolescents.