While tooth decay is sometimes perceived as a childhood rite of passage, elementary school-aged children missing school and causing parents to miss work due to painful toothaches are no laughing matter. Parents of children with poor oral health miss twice as much work as their counterparts, due to preventable, unnecessary tooth pain.
A new report from NC Child entitled “School-Based Sealant Programs: An Innovative Approach to Improve Children’s Oral Health,” shows that dental decay is not spread evenly across the state; children from poor, rural counties tend to have the highest rates of decay. Dentists are also spread unevenly across the state. In three counties–Camden, Hyde, and Tyrrell–there are no dentists. In Sampson and Duplin counties there are just 1.7 dentists per 10,000 people, far below the national average of 6.1 dentists per 10,000. Wake County, by contrast, has 7.9 dentists per 10,000 people.
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