By Diana Macri, RDH, BSDH, MSEd
In spite of significant scientific advancements in the fields of science and medicine, the rates of oral disease in the United States (dental caries, periodontal diseases, and head and neck cancer) are staggering: 47.2% of adults ages 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease, and more than 90% of adults ages 20 and older have had at least one carious lesion. Dental caries is rampant in the nation’s children: 57% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 have had a carious lesion in their permanent teeth. Head and neck cancers, however, have been steadily declining for the past 20 years. Additionally, the US has an access-to-care problem, with persistent oral health disparities.
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