Rate of Decay in Youngsters' Baby Teeth

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A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that tooth decay in primary teeth increased among American children ages 2-5 years from 24 percent in 1988-1994 to 28 percent in 1999-2004.


Dr. Robert Collins

Division Chief of Community Oral Health, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania


* Oversees the Penn School of Dental Medicine's community services programs, treating underserved populations in Philadelphia

* A 24-year career in public service dentistry with the Indian Health Service, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for American Indians and Alaska Natives.


"While on the whole, the oral health of Americans continues to improve, we are seeing more tooth decay in young children, particularly in some racial, ethnic and economic groups.  We need to increase our efforts to bring preventive measures, such as sealants and fluoride, to our most vulnerable population.  In this age of highly sweetened foods and beverages, a rise in tooth decay in young children should alert us to expand our efforts to bring clear, accurate and helpful health education messages to parents and caregivers through pediatricians, teachers, school nurses and popular media. "