Survey says: Kids’ oral health improves over time!

Jun 29 2014

Survey says: Kids’ oral health improves over time!

Survey says: Kids’ oral health improves over time!

Here’s something to smile about – in a time when the news is full of sobering statistics when it comes to children’s health when it comes to obesity, a study showed habits seem to have improved in recent years when it come to little ones and their oral health.

The results of the study – which were made public late last year – looked at the oral health of children across the country in 2003 and compared it to data that was collected in the years 2011 and 2012.

During that eight-to-nine-year time span, researchers found that visits to the dentist for preventative care increased and reported oral health improved. The study was performed by researched at the College of Dental Medicine and Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

The results were based on examined surveys for 96,510 children between the ages of 1 to 17 for the 2003 data and 90,555 children from the data collected in 2011-12. The results were then used to estimate the rate of preventive visits and general oral health in each state across the U.S.

During the survey, parents were asked to categorize the condition of their children’s teeth in the categories of excellent, very good, fair or poor. In addition, they were asked whether their children had visited a dentist in the past year for preventive care – think routine dental cleanings and checkups.

Researches found the following:

  • In the 2003 data, 67.7 percent of parents reported their kids children had “excellent” or “very good” oral health. That number that increased to 71.9 percent in 2011-12.

  • Researchers found the rate of children who were reported to have “excellent” or “very good” oral health increased in 26 states between the time the two surveys were done. Among all the states, Utah jumped the most – from 69.1 percent in 2003 percent to 79.2 percent in 2011-12.

  • The number of parents who reported that children had at least one preventive dental visit also increased. The number went from 71.5 percent in 2003 to 77 percent in the newer data.

  • Kids who got a preventive care dental visit increased in all but six states nationwide. The District of Columbia saw the biggest increase, from 70 in 2003 percent to the more recent 82.7 percent.

  • While improvements were seen among children in nearly all categories of health insurance and household income, the oral health status of children in homes without health insurance didn’t improve with over time.

The survey largely comes as good news to both oral health care providers, but there’s always room for improvement. Don’t forget that experts recommend that children start going to the dentist every six months by the time the time they reach their first birthday.

If your child has not been to the dentist yet – or if it’s been a while – don’t hesitate to call our office for an appointment or check out our awesome San Diego Pediatric Dentistry Directory to find a qualified kids dentist near you. Oral health is an important part of overall health.


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