Dental Caries in Primary Teeth
The prevalence of untreated tooth decay in primary teeth was 10% among children aged 2–5 years and 16% among those 6–8 years, reflecting a 10 percentage point decrease in both groups since 1999–2004. Notable decreases occurred among Mexican American, near-poor, and poor children.
Prevalence of caries among children aged 2–5 years decreased from 28% during 1999–2004 to 23% during 2011–2016 (Table 1). Since 1999–2004, prevalence decreased by 8 percentage points to 33% among Mexican American and poor children, by 7 percentage points to 30% among poor and near-poor combined children, and by 6 percentage points to 24% and 18% among male and non-Hispanic white children, respectively.
The prevalence of untreated tooth decay was 10%, which was about a 10 percentage point decrease since 1999–2004 (21%) (Table 2). Prevalence decreased across all sociodemographic groups. Declines ranged from 7 percentage points among not-poor children (13% vs. 6%) to more than 14 percentage points among Mexican American (31% vs. 15%) and poor (31% vs. 17%) children. During 2011–2016, prevalence of caries and untreated decay was about 1–2 times higher among Mexican American, non-Hispanic black, and poor and near-poor combined children compared to non-Hispanic white and not- poor children (Tables 1 and 2).
Among children with caries, the mean number of affected teeth was 4.3, which represented no detectable change since 1999–2004 (Table 3). However, the mean of untreated decayed primary teeth (dt) decreased overall, from 2.6 to 1.6 teeth, across all sociodemographic characteristics except among not-poor and non-Hispanic black children. Declines in dt ranged from 0.8 teeth for males to 1.5 teeth for poor and near-poor combined children. Mean filled primary teeth (ft) increased overall, from 1.4 to 2.8 teeth, across all sociodemographic characteristics.
Specifically, the number of filled primary teeth increased by 1.9 teeth for Mexican American children, 1.8 for female children, and 1.7 for not-poor children. An overall 27 percentage point decrease was found in the mean percentage of primary teeth with caries (dft ≥1) that were untreated (% dt/dft) and a corresponding increase in the mean percentage that were restored (% ft/dft) compared to 1999–2004 (Table 4). Decreases in mean % dt/dft and increases in mean % ft/dft occurred across all sociodemographic groups.
The prevalence of caries among children aged 6–8 years was 52%, with no changes detected overall or across sociodemographic groups since 1999–2004 (Table 5). The prevalence of untreated tooth decay was 16% (Table 6), which was a reduction of 11 percentage points since 1999–2004. Prevalence was lower across all sociodemographic groups, with reductions ranging from 6 percentage points for not- poor children (18% vs. 11%) to 18 percentage points for Mexican American children (38% vs. 20%).
During 2011–2016, prevalence of caries and untreated decay was higher among Mexican American (caries: 73%, untreated decay: 20%), non-Hispanic black (54%, 22%), and poor and near-poor combined (62%, 22%) children compared with non-Hispanic white (44%, 13%) and not-poor (40%, 11%) children (Tables 5 and 6).
Among children with caries, the mean dft was 4.4, which represents little change since 1999–2004 (4.3 teeth) (Table 7). However, mean dt decreased overall, from 1.5 to 0.8 teeth, with decreases found across all sociodemographic characteristics. The largest decline was 1.0 tooth for non-Hispanic black, Mexican American, and poor children. Mean ft increased from 2.7 to 3.6 teeth overall, with increases across all sociodemographic groups. The largest increase was 1.5 teeth for Mexican American children. Consistent with these findings, an overall 18 percentage point decrease was found in the mean percentage of teeth with caries (dft ≥1) that were untreated (22%), with a corresponding increase in the mean percentage restored (78%) (Table 8). Decreases in mean % dt/dft and increases in mean % ft/dft occurred across all sociodemographic groups.
Suggested Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oral Health Surveillance Report: Trends in Dental Caries and Sealants, Tooth Retention, and Edentulism, United States, 1999–2004 to 2011–2016. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2019.