Dental Health in New York State Children: A Way to Keep Kids Smiling

Originally presented on October 16, 2014

Jayanth Kumar, DDS, MPH
Director, Bureau of Dental Health,
New York State Department of Health
Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University at Albany

Bridget Walsh
Senior Policy Associate, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy

A healthy mouth is an essential component of a child’s overall well-being. A recent report issued by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy observed that far too many New Yorkers suffer from dental pain and the burden of high dental treatment costs.  Tooth decay is preventable but a New York State survey of school children found that approximately 44% of children had experienced tooth decay by 3rd grade and about 22% had untreated tooth decay. If untreated, the consequences can be painful infection which could lead to life-threatening conditions. Children with dental pain have difficulty gaining weight and concentrating in class rooms. Recent studies show that children with poor dental health are three times more likely to miss classes and more likely to have a lower grade-point average than their healthy peers.

The New York State Department of Health highlighted the importance of oral health in its 2013-2017 Prevention Agenda and identified the reduction of tooth decay in children as one of its goals. It has identified community level interventions such as water fluoridation and school-based programs for their expansion, and provided a blue print for public health action. Many public health groups are mobilizing collaborative initiatives to enhance prevention, awareness, and access to services for individuals and communities.

This webcast will describe the burden of dental disease in children, explain the goals, objectives and performance measures, and discuss the initiatives for individuals and communities that are being promoted in New York State.

Program Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe the burden of dental disease in New York State children.
  • Explain the goals, objectives and performance measures for achieving improvements in oral health.
  • Discuss community and individual level interventions and public health initiatives for preventing and controlling tooth decay in children.