1 in 5 Americans Has Untreated Cavities
Most kids get dental care, regardless of income, because of federal health programs, researcher says.
More than one in every five Americans has untreated cavities, a new government report shows.
“Untreated tooth decay is prevalent in the U.S.,” said report co-author Dr. Bruce Dye, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. “It appears that we haven’t been able to make any significant strides during the last decade to reduce untreated cavities.”
One expert was not surprised by the findings.
“This is information that has been known for a while,” said Dr. Lindsay Robinson, a spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. “More people are on Medicaid and more and more states, in an attempt to balance their budgets, have eliminated dental benefits.”
There needs to be more investment in dental care to cover those who rely on Medicaid, Robinson said. “Only about 2 percent of Medicaid dollars go to dental care. In the private system it’s triple that,” she explained.
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