Tooth decay widespread, but so is the war against it

Capital News Service
LANSING – One of the greatest health risks for Michigan children is right under their noses. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children, said Angela Minicuci, public information officer of the Michigan Department of Community Health. More than half of all third graders—58 percent—have some tooth decay, according to the Department of Community Health, and 25 percent of those problems are left untreated. Dentists are distributing toothbrushes and educational materials in schools to students and teachers during February, said Tom Kochheiser, director of public affairs for the Michigan Dental Association, because it is National Children’s Oral Health month. Tooth decay is a big issue afflicting children, even though it is preventable through regular brushing, flossing and a healthy diet, Kochheiser said.

Most schools lack dental sealant programs

Capital News Service
LANSING – Only 25 percent of Michigan’s high schools provide dental sealant programs to prevent tooth decay, according to a new report. A Pew Charitable Trust study said school-based sealant programs reduce tooth decay by 60 percent at one-third the cost of a filling. Tooth decay affects nearly 60 percent of children, Pew reported. Dental sealants are clear plastic coatings applied to permanent molars. Sealants typically last five to 10 years.