Even healthy-looking mouths can harbor unseen oral health issues – issues that can lead to a lifetime of problems.
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Tooth decay affects more than a
quarter of 2- to 5-year-olds in the U.S.1
Because children learn
by watching those
around them, parents
begin influencing oral
health habits from a
very young age.
1"Oral Health at a Glance," CDC, 2011.
Tooth decay is the most common
chronic disease in children aged 6 to 11.2
Dental-related illnesses are
costing our children their
education. More than 51
million hours of school are
lost each year because of
largely preventable oral
2"Preventing Dental Caries with Community Programs," CDC, 2010.
Tooth decay is four times more
common than asthma among
adolescents aged 14 to 17.3
Students who take a test while
experiencing a toothache do not
perform as well as students who
are undistracted by pain.
3 "Preventing Dental Caries with Community Programs," CDC, 2010.
Most adults show signs of gum disease,
but less than two-thirds have seen a
dentist in the past six months.4
Embarrassment about gum disease and
tooth decay causes some adults to avoid
laughing or smiling. Getting a job and
participating in social settings become a
source of anxiety and discomfort.
4"Oral Health for Adults," CDC, 2006.
28% of adults aged 35 to 44 have
untreated tooth decay.5
Kansas hospitals reported more
than 17,500 visits to emergency
facilities due to dental-related
problems in 2010.6
Untreated tooth decay is costing U.S.
adults their quality of life. In fact, 1 in 20
are missing all their teeth. Eating becomes
difficult, which leads to poor nutrition, and
feelings of embarrassment cause
emotional issues and isolation.
5"Preventing Dental Caries with Community Programs," CDC, 2010. 6Pew Center of the States, 2012.
1 in 4 adults report some sort of
facial pain in the past six months,
usually caused by toothaches.7
Poor oral health is also costing the U.S.
workforce. Adults lose more than 164
million hours of work each year because
of oral health issues, costing both
employees and employers in terms of
earnings and productivity.
7"Oral Health for Adults," CDC, 2006.
23% of 65- to 74-year olds
have severe gum disease.8
Gum disease is painful in many ways.
In addition to being a physical ailment,
gum disease leads to more serious
diseases that limit independence and
degrade quality of life, making it difficult
to make the most of retirement.
8"Oral Health for Older Americans," CDC, 2006.
One-quarter of U.S. adults over
age 65 have lost all their teeth.9
Specifically, Kansas is ranked 18th
in the U.S. for total tooth loss among
seniors. Recent studies have suggested
a link between tooth loss and dementia,
putting Kansas seniors at a higher risk
of this debilitating disease.
9"Oral Health for Older Americans," CDC, 2006.
People with gum disease are twice as
likely to have coronary artery disease.10
89% of Kansas counties don't have
enough dentists to serve their populations.
10"Gum Disease Links to Heart Disease and Stroke," American Academy of Periodontology, February 23, 2011.
The Kansas Health Foundation has made improving the health of all Kansans its mission, and good oral health is an important component of overall health. Poor oral health is a growing problem in Kansas. Unfortunately, many Kansans are unaware of the deficiencies of oral health in our state, and the repercussions of neglecting this important issue. The Kansas Health Foundation is committed to spreading awareness of the oral health dangers facing Kansans.