The need for oral health care and education in the state of Illinois is significant. Although tooth decay is nearly 100 percent preventable, too many children needlessly suffer from tooth decay. In fact, tooth decay is the leading chronic infectious disease among children in our nation. It not only causes pain, but also can interfere with a child’s ability to eat, speak, smile and concentrate. It also can affect a child’s overall health.
We do this through educating children and their caregivers about the benefits of preventive care to set the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health.
Why children's oral health?
It's part of our mission. Childhood is the time when good oral health habits and lessons should begin. We believe oral health education and awareness are key to helping establish a lifetime of oral health. Of course, access to care is vital as well. Tooth decay is largely preventable, but it is the leading chronic infectious disease among children in the United States. Tooth decay not only can cause pain, but also can interfere with a child’s ability to eat, speak, smile and concentrate. Tooth decay has the potential to affect a child’s overall health. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 22.7 percent of two to five year olds have had cavities, and 55.7 percent of six to eight year olds have had cavities. Around 52% of third grade children in the state had caries experience, suggesting that tooth decay is still a significant public health problem affecting Illinois children.
According to the 2017 Delta Dental of Illinois Children’s Oral Health Survey: 35 percent of children had at least one cavity in the past 12 months. Only 53% of Illinois children's teeth are brushed twice a day. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of parents report that their children’s teeth are flossed less often than once a day. Only 62% of Illinois children who have visited the dentist have been twice in the past 12 months.