When it comes to receiving dental care, New Jersey has its share of underserved children, according to a new Rutgers study.
In 2009, more than one-fifth of the state’s children between 3 and 18 received no dental care within the previous year. While an improvement over 2001, when almost one-third of the state’s children received no care, the study found that foreign-born children and those without health insurance were still likely to forgo visits to the dentist.
The Facts & Findings report, “New Jersey Children without Dental Services in 2001 and 2009,” was prepared by Rutgers’s Center for State Health Policy.
Many groups recommend regular trips to the dentist for children. An American Dental Association report calls for regular dental checkups, including a visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth and no later than the child’s first birthday. An American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advisory calls for a dental check-up at least twice a year for most children.
“Tooth decay remains one of the most preventable common chronic diseases among children,” said José Nova, research project coordinator and lead author of the study. He cited a U.S. Surgeon General report that tooth decay affects more than 25 percent of American children ages 2 to 5 and 50 percent of those ages 12 to 15.