Cavities are among the most common chronic pediatric illnesses in the U.S. Untreated cavities can cause pain, infections, and problems eating, speaking, playing, and learning. In addition, poor dental health can cause school absences and lower grades.
More than half of 6 to 8-year-olds have a cavity in a baby tooth.
50% of 12 to 19-year-olds had a permanent tooth cavity.
5-19-year-olds from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities (25%).
Tooth decay is preventable. Fluoride varnish helps prevent one-third of newborn tooth decay. Fluoridated tap water reduces cavities in youngsters. Fluoride-using kids have fewer cavities.
Sealants have long prevented tooth decay. For example, applying sealants to the back teeth can prevent 80% of cavities.