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Treatment Needs in Children (2 to 11)

Oral health in general has improved significantly over the past several decades in all population subgroups. In spite of this improvement, significant disparities are still found in some population groups.

Time Since Last Dental Visit (Table 1)

  • 23% of children 2 to 11 have never been to the dentist.
  • Almost half of all very young children age 2 to 5 have never been to the dentist.
  • More Hispanic children and those in families with lower incomes have never been to the dentist.
  • Children in families with higher incomes are much more likely to have seen a dentist within the past year.

Table 1 presents the amount of time since the last dental visit among children age 2 to 11 and for selected subgroups. Each number represents the percentage of subjects who visited their dentist within that time frame.

Table 1: Children, Time Since Last Dental Visit

Time since last dental visit among children 2 to 11 years of age, by selected characteristics:
United States, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2004

Characteristic Never 1 Year or Less 1 to 2 Years 2 to 3 Years 3 to 5 Years More than 5 Years
Age
2 to 5 years 49.00 45.84 4.08 N/A N/A N/A
6 to 11 years 6.89 76.84 10.54 3.27 1.61 0.85
Sex
Male 23.62 64.06 8.32 2.15 1.26 *
Female 22.83 65.61 7.72 2.56 0.86 *
Race and Ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic 22.75 67.28 6.94 * * *
Black, non-Hispanic 21.85 64.68 8.99 2.42 1.37 *
Mexican American 28.16 56.45 10.14 3.12 1.36 *
Poverty Status (Income compared to Federal Poverty Level)
Less than 100% 26.22 57.17 10.28 2.68 2.30 *
100% to 199% 25.18 56.83 12.05 * 1.23 *
Greater than 200% 20.62 72.35 5.22 * * *
Overall 23.19 64.84 8.04 2.35 1.06 0.52

NA = Not Applicable due to child’s age
* = Insufficient sample size

Data Source: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been an important source of information on oral health and dental care
in the United Statessince the early 1970s.  Table 1 presents the latest NHANES (collected between 1999 and 2004) data regarding dental visits in children.

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This page last updated: March 11, 2014