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2019 to 2020 Saw Drop in Children Having Dental Exams, Cleaning

Annual dental examinations and cleaning decreased for children overall and for those aged 1 to 4 years and 12 to 17 years

THURSDAY, Dec. 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) — From 2019 to 2020, there was a decrease in the percentage of children aged 1 to 17 years who had a dental examination or cleaning, according to a December data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Dzifa Adjaye-Gbewonyo, Ph.D., and Lindsey I. Black, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, describe recent changes in the prevalence of dental examinations or cleanings in the past 12 months among children aged 1 to 17 years using data from the 2019 and 2020 National Health Interview Survey.

The researchers found that the percentage of children who had a dental examination or cleaning in the past 12 months decreased from 83.8 to 80.9 percent from 2019 to 2020. For children aged 1 to 4 and 12 to 17 years, annual dental examinations and cleanings decreased. The likelihood of having had an annual dental examination or cleaning in 2020 was lower than in 2019 for children aged 1 to 17 years living in families with incomes below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Annual dental examinations and cleanings declined in the Northeast (85.8 to 79.9 percent) and in the South (82.8 to 79.4 percent).

“Changes from 2019 to 2020 cannot be clearly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic because some of the reference period occurred before the start of the pandemic,” the authors write.

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