Recognized as the “silent epidemic,” tooth decay is now the most common chronic childhood disease – five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever. Dental disease is most prevalent among poor children, who have twice as many cavities and are more likely to go without treatment than their more affluent peers.
An unhealthy smile results in:
- Increased absenteeism in schools
- Decreased job opportunities
- Decreased resistance to secondary infections
- Decreased ability to eat
Among employed adults, dental-related illness is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work – 164 million hours lost each year – with the poor much more likely to have teeth decay and gum loss. Increasingly, research is proving that poor dental health has a negative impact on overall, long-term health.