MDH: More Than Half Of 3rd Graders Have Cavities

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new report from the Minnesota Department of Health finds that more than one half of the state’s third graders experienced tooth decay.

At 55 percent, that figure stands higher than the national average for children ages 6 to 8, which rests at 53 percent.

The report says that an average of $49 million per year is being spent on non-traumatic dental emergencies that could be prevented with better strategies for improving oral health.

The study found the issue affected children in correlation to their family’s financial status.

“Low-income children bear the greatest burden of oral diseases in the state,” the MDH announced. “Children eligible for free or reduced lunch were almost one and a half times more likely to experience tooth decay and almost three times more likely to have the decay go untreated than more affluent peers.”

The MDH recommends the use of sealants to prevent cavities. They also recommend bolstering Minnesota’s dental workforce via recruiting and improved retention.

The report was culled from statistics taken in 2010.

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