California,  Dentistry

Dentistry Today: California Ranks Near Bottom in Children’s Dental Health

Araceli Torres, left, watches her daughter, Dayani Antonio, have her teeth cleaned Saturday by Pat Chang at Weideman Professional Dental Corp. in Citrus Heights.

Sacramento Bee: State’s kids face crisis of cavities

California is ranked near the bottom in survey on children’s dental health

The teeth of California’s children are decaying at epidemic levels, according to a report released today by the Dental Health Foundation. Painful cavities and abscesses are causing children to miss school and, in the worst scenarios, end up hospitalized. Nearly 6 percent of the state’s poorest children are in so much pain, or have such bad infections, that they need urgent treatment, the report says.

Of 25 states surveyed, California ranks 24th, second only to Arkansas in the frequency of dental decay among children. By third grade, nearly two-thirds of California children are affected by dental disease. The report’s authors say that makes tooth decay – not obesity or asthma – by far the most prevalent children’s health problem in the state.

Dentistry needs to better educate patients, patient’s families and the goverment as to this public health crisis.

California is a large state with diverse and diverse immigrant communities and in education lies the key.

Other stories:

Los Angeles Daily News: No. 1 kids’ epidemic: bad teeth

San Francisco Chronicle: Childhood dental problems epidemic

San Diego Union: California kids suffer country’s second-highest dental decay rate

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  • nyscof

    “It may…be that fluoridation of drinking water does not have a strong protective effect against early childhood caries [cavities],” reports dentist Howard Pollick, University of California, and colleagues, in the Winter 2003 Journal of Public Health Dentistry

    California Cavity-Epidemic Study Reveals Fluoridation is Ineffective

    New York – February 22 — Fluoridated California communities have huge cavity rates and large dentist-neglected populations, according to a recent California study,1 reports the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF).

    Although dentistry promises steep cavity reductions with fluoride-laced water supplies, that’s not happening in California which is in the midst of a cavity epidemic.2

    For example: fluoridated Long Beach children have more cavities (75%) 3 than California state (71%) despite a state-wide fluoridation rate about one-fourth that of Long Beach. California is 27% fluoridated.

    Los Angeles County is 44% fluoridated,4 yet 75% have tooth decay. 5 Santa Clara County, where several cities fluoridate,6 has a 72% cavity rate.7 Humboldt County is 35% fluoridated8 yet may have a higher cavity rate than California as a whole.9 Despite five fluoridated districts,6 Alameda County had double the statewide number of students needing urgent dental care.10 California is 27% fluoridated.

    In contrast, NON-fluoridated Nassau County, New York, has a 50% cavity rate.11

    Nationally 50% of six- to 8-year-olds have cavities.12 Fluoride is delivered to 2/3 of Americans via public water supplies and virtually 100% via the food supply

    The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) predicted that California preschoolers’ poor nutrition, soda drinking and poor dental care would lead to more tooth decay.13

    “Cavity rates correlate with poor diet and lack of dental care – two symptoms of poverty – not fluoride intake,” says Paul Beeber, President NYSCOF. “Fluoridation proponents are unjustifiably using the California study to promote fluoridation, when, in fact, it proves fluoridation’s ineffectiveness,” says Beeber.

    Calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, D and other nutrients, not fluoride, are required to build and maintain healthy teeth. Many California preschoolers lack these nutrients because they do not consume recommended amounts of fruit, vegetables and milk while drinking too much soda.13

    With free and accessible dental care, military personnel’s dental health exceeds their civilian counterparts, reports the U.S. Surgeon General.14

    Forty-percent of California’s uninsured schoolchildren have untreated decay.1 Few California dentists accept Medicaid patients.15 Yet, dental groups oppose allowing trained dental therapists to mitigate the oral health epidemic.(16a, b)

    Many fluoridated communities experience cavity crises in the U.S.17 Children need dentists, not fluoridation.18

    “With soda such an obvious and preventable cause of tooth decay, we question why the American Association of Pediatric Dentists accepted a $1 million grant from Coca-Cola,”19 says Beeber.

    Out of 24 states reporting, Californians had the second worst decay rates, behind Arkansas which is 62% fluoridated – Over twice the fluoridation rate of California .

    According to a columnist for a California newspaper, “The Dental Health Foundation is basically a fluoridation advocacy group…many of the schools surveyed to show increased cavities were in L.A., Sacramento and San Francisco – all fluoridated communities.” (20)

    Contact: Paul Beeber, President

    New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc

    PO Box 263

    Old Bethpage, NY 11804


    SOURCE: NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation


    1) 2006 Oral Health Needs Assessment of Children, California Dental Health Foundation
    2) Childhood dental problems epidemic,
    Study finds 71% of state’s 3rd-graders have tooth decay, San Francisco Chronicle, by Janine DeFao 02/06/06

    3) Dental disease sinks teeth into kids, by Kevin Butler, Press-Telegram, 2/6/06

    4) “Your Health,” Los Angeles County Department of Health Services – Public Health Volume III; Number 2; Winter 2000

    5) 2006 Oral Health Needs Assessment of Children, California Dental Health Foundation page Table 2 (Region 3)

    6) Average Fluoride Levels of Public Water Systems in California Implementing Water Fluoridation

    7) “Oral Health Status of Children in Santa Clara County,” Results of the Health Trust 2001 Needs Assessment, December 2001,

    8) “Crisis with our Children,” Executive Summary, Humboldt County Children’s Oral Health Report, July 2001

    9) “Humboldt sees high dental disease rates among children,” by Sara Watson Arthurs, The Times-Standard, 02/07/2006

    10) Dental decay afflicts quarter of state’s kids, By Sandy Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 02/06/2006

    11) Nassau County Community Health Assessment 2005-2010 (page

    12) U.S. Centers for Disease Control Oral Health At a Glance

    13) The Health of Young Children in California: Findings from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey. Los Angeles and Sacramento: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and First 5 California, July 2003.

    14) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2000 (page 87)

    15) Distribution of Medicaid Dental Services in California.

    A paper by the Center for California Health Workforce Studies

    at the UCSF Center for the Health Professions, December 2000

    16a) “American Dental Association Files Suit Over Unlicensed Dental Therapists Providing Care In Rural Areas, NPR Reports,” Feb 12, 2005

    b) “State board acts for California dentists, not public,” Sacramento Bee editorial 2/7/06



    19) Pediatric Dentists Accused of Selling Out to Coke. CSPI [Center for Science in the Public Interest] Urges AAPD to Put Kids’ Teeth Ahead of Coke’s Money. March 2003