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2013 Smile Survey Results

Key findings

  • 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. 

  • Four percent of third-grade students had four or more teeth with active tooth decay, the lowest rate of all previous survey years. 

  • 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. 

  • More than four out of five students (81 percent) did not require any restorative dental services, a significant positive increase from 71 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. 

  • The only statistically significant difference noted by gender statewide for 2013 survey year was for the rate of caries experience. Male third-grade students had a caries experience rate of 65 percent compared to a female rate of 58 percent. No significant differences were noted at the Public Health District level for this measure.