New results from the state’s ongoing oral health survey show encouraging trends, particularly in the prevalence of untreated tooth decay among Colorado children. Untreated decay in kindergartners was nearly halved between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012, falling from 27 percent to 14 percent. For third-graders, untreated decay dropped to 14 percent from 26 percent.
But the survey also revealed continuing oral health disparities.
More than half of Hispanic kindergartners had untreated cavities compared with about a third of white kindergartners.
Meanwhile, more than half of kindergartners in the lowest-income bracket - schools where at least three-quarters of the students receive free or reduced lunches - had untreated cavities. This compares to a quarter of kindergartners in the highest-income bracket - schools where less than 25 percent of the students qualified for free or reduced lunches – with untreated cavities.
So, while progress has been made, much work remains to be done to ensure that all Colorado kids start their lives with healthy teeth.
The report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is available here.