According to a recent study conducted by the Delta Dental Foundation that analyzed more than 97 million dental claims, two-thirds of children who don’t get the recommended preventative dental care are at a higher risk of developing cavities.
In the study, researchers found that 27% of children up to the age of 18 have an increased risk of developing cavities, as shown by records of dental fillings. Of the 27% of children who developed cavities, 65% of them did not receive the recommended two fluoride treatments per year, 68% of children between the ages of six and nine didn’t receive sealants on their first personal molars, and 85% of those children between the ages of 10 and 14 didn’t receive sealants on their second permanent molars.
Statistically speaking, previous studies show that 78% of individuals have at least one cavity by the age of 17. However, this landmark study shows that failing to take the necessary preventative measures can increase both the incidence and frequency of cavities among children below the age of 18.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children who have a higher risk of tooth decay should receive two fluoride treatments per year and sealants on both their first and second permanent molars.
These kinds of treatments are typically fully covered by dental insurance benefits.
And while many children are failing to receive preventative care, an alarming number of children don’t receive any care at all. In fact, 25% of children between the ages of three and 18 don’t visit the dentist, and 71% of children under three don’t visit the dentist at all.
“Dental diseases like tooth decay and gum disease are preventable, so it is very important for children and adults at higher risk for dental disease to fully utilize the preventive dental benefits available to them,” said Dr. Bill Kohn, the vice president for dental science and policy for the Delta Dental Plants Association.
While oral health is often a result of both environmental and genetic factors, regular trips to the dentist can ensure that children grow up with lasting and good oral health.