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Prevalence of total and untreated dental caries among youth : United States, 2015–2016
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  • Description:
    Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

    • For 2015–2016, prevalence of total caries (untreated and treated) was 43.1% and untreated caries was 13.0% among youth aged 2–19 years.

    • Prevalence was lowest in youth aged 2–5 years compared with those aged 6–11 and 12–19 for total (17.7%, 45.2%, 53.5%) and untreated caries (8.8%, 15.3%, 13.4%).

    • Hispanic youth had the highest prevalence of total caries; non-Hispanic black youth had the highest prevalence of untreated caries.

    • For both total and untreated caries, prevalence decreased as family income level increased.

    • Total caries prevalence declined from 2011–2012 (50.0%) to 2015–2016 (43.1%). For untreated caries, prevalence increased from 2011–2012 (16.1%) to 2013–2014 (18.0%), and then decreased in 2015–2016 (13.0%).

    Dental caries is the most common chronic disease among youth aged 6–19 years (1). Untreated caries can cause pain and infections (2,3). Monitoring prevalence of untreated and total caries (untreated and treated) is key to preventing and controlling oral diseases. This report presents the prevalence of total and untreated caries in primary or permanent teeth among youth aged 2–19 years for 2015–2016, and trends from 2011–2012 through 2015–2016.

    Suggested citation: Fleming E, Afful J. Prevalence of total and untreated dental caries among youth: United States, 2015–2016. NCHS Data Brief, no 307. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.


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