The Idaho Oral Health Program
The goal of the Idaho Oral Health Program is to help children avoid tooth decay by increasing early preventive care. The Oral Health program is focused on children ages birth to 12 years, their families and care providers. The program works with the seven health districts to improve the oral health of children throughout Idaho. Contact a health district in your area to learn about the dental services they provide.
Oral health is important to general health and well-being. Severe mouth, teeth and gum disease can affect children’s growth and school performance. Research has shown a link to diabetes, heart and lung disease, stroke, respiratory illnesses and pre-term, low-birth weight infants. Childhood dental disease sets the stage for a lifetime of poor oral health and puts a financial burden on the family.
2013 Smile Survey Result
More than one in five (21 percent) Idaho third-grade students had untreated tooth decay, significantly lower than surveys conducted in 2001 and 2005. This finding represents a seven percent reduction since 2001. The Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) goal for children aged six to nine years is a rate of untreated decay of 25.9 percent or less.
Sixty-seven percent of third-graders had some caries experience, primary or permanent teeth with decay or filled caries, or were missing permanent teeth. The HP2020 goal for children aged six to nine is a rate of caries experience of 49 percent or less.
More than half (58 percent) of third-grade students had dental sealants on all teeth recommended for sealants, similar to the previous surveys. Sixty-three percent had sealants on at least one tooth recommended for sealants, a statistically larger rate than in any of the previous surveys. The HP2020 goal for children aged six to nine is a rate of 28.1 percent or better on one or more of their permanent first molar teeth.
The rate of third-grade students needing urgent restorative dental services due to pain, infection, inflammation or bleeding was two percent, a finding significantly lower than the rate of 5 percent in 2001.
The survey showed disparities in dental health between income and race/ethnicity groups. Lower incomes were associated with higher rates of active tooth decay, caries experience, urgent need for restorative services, and lower rates of preventative sealants present. Hispanic students also had higher rates of active tooth decay, caries experience, urgent need for restorative services, and lower rates of preventative sealants when compared with non-Hispanic Whites.
Projecting survey results to the Idaho population as a whole, more than 4,600 third-grade students had a total estimated 11,000 cavities requiring treatment.