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April JADA study finds oral health services for young children lagging

April 01, 2019

BY Kimber Solana

April 2019 JADA coverPreventive oral health services are lagging among young children and children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, according to the cover story of the April issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.

Authors of the article, “Preventive oral health care use and oral health status among U.S. children: 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health,” used data from the survey, including information on 46,100 children aged 2 through 17 years.

According to the study, 8 in 10 children had a preventive dental visit in the past year but had lower rates of specific services, as reported by parents or caregivers. These include 75 percent prophylaxis, 46 percent fluoride, 44 percent instructions and 21 percent sealants. Of the children in the study, 12 percent had carious teeth or caries and 6 percent had fair or poor teeth condition.

“In adjusted analyses, young children (aged 2-5 years), children with no health insurance, and those from lower-income and lower-educated households had decreased likelihood of a preventive dental visit as well as specific preventive services,” the authors wrote.
The authors recommended that dentists should work with caregivers and primary care providers to promote preventive oral health care, especially among young children and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

To read the full article, visit

Other highlights of the April issue include a look at opioid prescribing patterns after dental visits among Medicaid beneficiaries, current estimates of volume and charges of dental-related emergency department visits, and a study on the effect of the Great Recession on the demand for general oral health care and orthodontic care in the U.S.

Each month, JADA articles are published online at in advance of the print publication.