23 Shocking Dental Hygiene Stats About Kids and Teens

Jan 15, 2024 | Patient Tips

Adolescence is a very important time to focus on oral hygiene because it can set our kids up for a lifetime of healthy habits. But there’s been a lot of data showing that our kids and teens are being negatively affected in so many different ways. Here’s quite a few shocking dental hygiene statistics about our kids and teens:

  1. In 2019, approximately 89% of kids from the Northeastern region of the USA between 2 and 17 years old visited the dentist. 
  2. Out of all the US states, Louisiana and New Mexico had the highest percentage of children and adolescents between 1 and 17 with oral health problems in 2022, and approximately 19% of children and adolescents in both states had oral health problems. 
  3. In total, 14% of children and adolescents in the United States have oral health problems.
  4. Around the world, approximately 75% of school children have active dental cavities (learn how to spot cavities on your kid’s teeth).
  5. Children miss around 51 million school hours every single year due to dental-related sickness.
  6. Approximately 50% of children between the ages of 2 and 17 years get advice from their healthcare provider about the importance of a dental visit.
  7. 64% of children between 2 and 4 years, 92% of children between 5 and 11, and 90% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old have had dental visits in the past 12 months.
  8. Having a child visit a dentist for the first time at 4 years old or younger can save parents approximately $360 over a period of 8 years.
  9. Around 40% of American children have tooth decay before starting kindergarten.
  10. American children aged 5 to 19 from low-income families are two times more likely to have cavities in comparison to children from households with higher incomes.
  11. Approximately 75% of teens have cases of gum bleeding and 13% of teens have at least one untreated cavity. 
  12. According to the CDC, among younger children, 11% of 2-year-olds, 21% of 3-year-olds, and 44% of 5-year-olds have cavities.
  13. More than half of children between the ages of 6 and 8 have had a cavity in one of their baby teeth.
  14. Children with poor oral health often miss more school and, as a result, receive lower grades than children who do not.
  15. Cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood in the USA,  but cavities are preventable as fluoride varnish can prevent about 33% of cavities in baby teeth.
  16. Children living in places with fluoridated tap water experience fewer cavities than those whose water is not.
  17. Children who brush daily using fluoride toothpaste will experience fewer cavities.
  18. A study showed that 76% of adolescents brush their teeth at least twice a day, but only 4% of the sample flossed every day
  19. Girls appear to be more compliant than boys in brushing their teeth and flossing, with girls being more attentive with tongue cleaning, despite only 10% of girls with braces flossing regularly. 
  20. Dentists have reported seeing children as young as 2 and 3 years old being hospitalized for facial infections that could have easily been prevented with early intervention.
  21. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), childhood tooth decay is more common than other serious ailments, and is four times more common than early childhood obesity, five times more common than childhood asthma, and 20 times more common than diabetes.
  22. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children experiencing tooth decay have a wide range of adverse effects. In addition to negatively impacting their oral health, tooth decay has been linked to pain and infections that can have a detrimental impact on a child’s ability to eat, speak, play, and learn. 
  23. Some studies on oral health have indicated there may be a direct correlation between untreated tooth decay and a wide range of life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and pulmonary disease.


Nobody wants their children to have unhealthy teeth and gums, which is why, as parents, we should set the example, but also encourage regular trips to the dentist. Prevention is the best possible solution, as it does not just ensure our kids and teens have excellent oral hygiene, but they are set up for life.

Looking for a pediatric dentist in Elkhart County for your entire family? Contact any one of our three offices today to schedule your next appointment.

Call Topping Dental Group Nappanee Dentistry(574) 773-9700

Call Topping Dental Group Elkhart Dentistry(574) 848-7487

Call Topping Dental Group Middlebury Dentistry(574) 825-1252