ADHA: New Report from National Center for Health Statistics Emphasizes Need for Improvement in Preventive Oral Health Care

Posted on May 15, 2015


 Chicago (May 15, 2015) — A recently released National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief details the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2012. The NHANES survey is co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). 

Data from the NHANES 2011-2012 indicates that approximately 91 percent of adult Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 have dental caries. The high prevalence of the caries underscores the importance of preventive oral health care, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). 

“This report reinforces the need for greater attention to prevention as it relates to oral health,” said ADHA President Kelli Swanson Jaecks, MA, RDH. “Effective strategies for assessing caries risk and management are well-documented in current scientific literature, and yet the condition remains prevalent, and is even increasing in vulnerable populations.” 

The NHANES 2011-2012 focused on age and ethnicity as related to incidence of caries, presence of untreated caries, retention of all permanent teeth and complete edentulousness.

Findings included that while the adults most likely to experience caries are non-Hispanic white, the ones most likely to have untreated caries were are non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic. Non-Hispanic black adults were also the most likely to be edentulous. 

“People are living longer,” said ADHA Executive Director Ann Battrell, MSDH, “and the factors that affect oral and overall health are becoming increasingly complex as the American population ages. The information from this data brief allows oral health care providers to use an evidence-based approach to preventive oral health care and disease management. Our collective efforts can improve the public’s overall health and quality of life.”  


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