There are certain factors which come into play when we talk about occurrence of dental caries in specific groups within general population. These factors may be related to genetics, behavior and environment. There are certain things which can be encouraged among people in order to help them prevent dental caries. Those things may include proper dental hygiene, diet, exposure to fluoride, exposure to pH altering liquids, and changing the quality and quantity of saliva. However, there are certain factors which may not be altered. Such factors are age, gender, ethnicity, genetic predisposition, economic status and more importantly access to dental care. With the help of this information, the risk of dental caries for certain groups in population can be identified.
Prevalence mainly refers to the statistical number of cases of a condition present in a specific portion of population at a specific time. And incident refers to the number of new cases arising during a specific period of time. Now, there is a perception that overall number of cases of dental caries are declining in public. It is mainly due to the greater awareness among general public, fluoridation of water in most of the states, and use of fluoride varnishes. However, it is also to be noted that there are only specific groups in United States that are enjoying this decrease in the number of dental caries cases. Having that said the poor population remains exposed against the higher risk of dental caries.
Statistical information about dental caries
Government conducts National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys after every few years. During these surveys, the occurrence and prevalence of dental caries are examined. The most recent survey suggests that 42 percent of the children aged between 2 and 11 have dental caries in their temporary teeth. Most of these affected children belong to the poor families. 59% of adolescent children aged between 11 and 19 years are found to have caries in their permanent teeth. The reason is same, i.e. most of them belong to the poor families. 23 percent of adults aged between 20 and 64 years have untreated tooth decay. Root caries occur in the individuals with the same pattern, i.e. poor socioeconomic statuses serve as the main reasons.
Strategies for prevention and treatment
There are some effective intervention strategies identified by Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It starts with the strategies to improve mother health so that the transfer of disease to children can be prevented. Moreover, general fluoridation of water and use of fluoride varnishes can also be pretty helpful in this regard. People are also suggested to use xylitol-based chewing gums which are considered pretty effective in producing saliva.
Apart from everything you do at home, it is very important to visit the dentist regularly. This dental visit can help you prevent and get rid of the dental caries before it starts making damage.