Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the U.S. About one in five children ages 5 to 11 has at least one untreated cavity. In Arizona, that number is even higher. More than half of Arizona’s kindergarten children have tooth decay, higher than the national average.
According to the 2023 Delta Dental of Arizona Youth Oral Health Report and Discover Dental Houston, dental issues are keeping kids out of the classroom. In fact, 12% of parents of kids 3 to 12 report that their child experienced a dental health issue in the past 12 months, missing an average of four days of school as a result. The survey also reports that despite parents’ efforts to improve their children’s oral hygiene habits, it has been a challenging task. While children are adhering to the guidelines recommended by dental professionals, parents face various barriers in the process. These obstacles include the temptation of sweets, boredom, and a general lack of understanding.
However, parents are aware of the influence their own actions have on their children’s oral health. They recognize that if left alone, dental issues could potentially affect their children’s self-esteem, body image, and social life. They also recognize how it impacts their own lives. Just over two in five (43%) parents have been forced to deal with at least one consequence when their child experienced a dental issue. Among those parents who are employed, many admit they had to miss work (25%).
Takeaway: Parents’ involvement is crucial for their child’s oral hygiene.