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Complete Health Indicator Report of Dental Caries Experience: Children Aged 6-9


Percentage of 6- to 9-year-old children who have dental caries experience (treated or untreated).


Number of 6 to 9-year-old children who participated in the school dental health survey who had dental caries experience (treated or untreated).


Number of 6 to 9-year-old children who participated in the school dental health survey.

Why Is This Important?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [ (CDC)] says that dental caries (tooth decay) is '''''largely preventable''''', but it remains the '''''most common chronic disease of children''''' aged 6 to 11 years, and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years. '''''Tooth decay is four times more common than asthma''''' among adolescents aged 14 to 17 years. It is also one of the most preventable diseases. Oral health affects a person's overall general health.

Healthy People Objective OH-1.2:

Reduce the proportion of children aged 6 to 9 years with dental caries experience in their primary and permanent teeth
U.S. Target: 49.0 percent

How Are We Doing?

By first grade most children have already experienced dental disease, and by second grade one fifth have obvious untreated decay. In a recent survey of parents of first through forth grade children, one in five (18%) did not have insurance that pays for dental care.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Utah continues to lag behind the U.S. in the percentage of caries-free children. Utah children have more cavities in part because of the lack of fluoridation in Utah community water systems. In 2014 Utah was 52% fluoridated; while the U.S. in 2014 had 74.4% of the community water systems fluoridated. This is however an improvement, since in 2000 Utah was less than 2% fluoridated.

What Is Being Done?

Community water fluoridation has been implemented in Salt Lake and Davis counties. It is also being implemented in Brigham City and Helper communities.

Available Services

As of September 2017, Medicaid includes basic dental care for children, pregnant women, and disabled adults. There is only emergency coverage for most other adults. For information call 801-538-6155, or 1-800-662-9651 or visit []. CHIP includes preventive and restorative services for children. For more information call 1-877-KIDS-NOW or visit []. There are a few dental clinics that provide services on a sliding fee scale or at a reduced rate. For more information on these clinics, contact your local health department or the State Oral Health Program at (801) 273-2995, or visit the [ Oral Health Program - Find a Dentist] website. Dental Hygiene Schools throughout the state of Utah offer preventive services including sealants and fluoride treatments. Dental Schools also offer treatment services in addition. Contact the UDOH Oral Health Program at (801) 273-2995, or visit the [ Oral Health Program] website for more information. [ Link for Healthy People 2020 for Oral Health]

Health Program Information

For other oral health related reports, click on the Health Topics tab, then click on Dental, then click on the + to the right of Publications.

Related Indicators

Relevant Population Characteristics

Dental disease affects children from poor families five times as much as children from higher income families. Minority ethnic populations have a higher incidence of caries experience and untreated caries and a lower rate of sealant placement.

Related Relevant Population Characteristics Indicators:

Health Care System Factors

Private dental insurance has improved access to dental care for many people. Medicaid and CHIP serve low income children; however, access remains a barrier to treatment. Individuals without dental insurance coverage have more untreated decay and were twice as likely to not be able to access needed dental treatment during the past year.

Related Health Care System Factors Indicators:

Risk Factors

Currently, only 52% of Utahns are drinking fluoridated water. Other risk factors include eating habits, such as frequent snacking and soft drink consumption, not brushing/flossing regularly, and not visiting the dentist regularly.

Related Risk Factors Indicators:

Health Status Outcomes

Oral disease has been linked to several other chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Related Health Status Outcomes Indicators:

Graphical Data Views

Percentage of Children Who Had Ever Had Dental Caries, Utah Children Aged 6-9, 2000-2015

::chart - missing::

YearPercentage of Children Aged 6-9Lower LimitUpper Limit
Record Count: 4

Data Notes

It was planned to complete the next survey during the 2020-21 school year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was canceled. The date of the next survey is uncertain and depends on multiple factors including the length of the pandemic and future funding for the survey.   ''2000 and 2005 data are for ages 6 to 8 years.''

Data Source

Utah Oral Health Survey, Utah Department of Health

More Resources and Links

Evidence-based community health improvement ideas and interventions may be found at the following sites:

Additional indicator data by state and county may be found on these Websites:

Medical literature can be queried at the PubMed website.

Page Content Updated On 10/26/2020, Published on 12/22/2020
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 12 August 2022 20:34:05 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 22 Dec 2020 23:58:45 MST