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Health & Disease Prevention, National Health Observances

Oral Health Fast Facts

  • Oral health is essential to general health and well-being.
  • Oral disease can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, and learning. It can also affect social interaction and employment potential.1
  • The three oral conditions that most affect overall health and quality of life are cavities, severe gum disease, and severe tooth loss.2
  • By age 8, over half of children (52%) have had a cavity in their primary (baby) teeth.3
  • Low-income children are twice as likely to have cavities as higher-income children.3
  • 1 in 4 adults aged 20 to 64 currently has cavities.3
  • Drinking fluoridated water and getting dental sealants (in childhood) prevent cavities and save money by avoiding expensive dental care.4, 5
  • Tobacco use and diabetes are two risk factors for gum disease.6, 7
  • On average, 34 million school hours are lost each year because of unplanned (emergency) dental care, and over $45 billion in US productivity is lost each year due to untreated dental disease.8
  • Medical-dental integration between oral health and chronic disease prevention programs benefits patients and saves money.9