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Louisiana Leads the Nation in Child Oral Health Issues, New Data Shows

The data reveals that over 24 months starting in 2021, 19.1% of Louisiana children faced oral health challenges. Additionally, about 11% of children aged 6 to 14 received dental sealants on their permanent molars, thanks to initiatives like Louisiana Seals Smiles.
The data reveals that over 24 months starting in 2021, 19.1% of Louisiana children faced oral health challenges. Additionally, about 11% of children aged 6 to 14 received dental sealants on their permanent molars, thanks to initiatives like Louisiana Seals Smiles.


Louisiana stands out nationwide for its high incidence of oral health problems among children, highlighted in a recent analysis by orthodontists at Celebrate Dental & Braces.


SHREVEPORT, La. — Louisiana stands out nationwide for its high incidence of oral health problems among children, according to a recent analysis by orthodontists at Celebrate Dental & Braces. Drawing from the 2021 and 2022 National Survey of Children’s Health, the study focused on children aged 1 to 17 who reported issues such as toothaches, bleeding gums, and cavities.


The data reveals that over 24 months starting in 2021, 19.1% of Louisiana children faced oral health challenges. Additionally, about 11% of children aged 6 to 14 received dental sealants on their permanent molars, thanks to initiatives like Louisiana Seals Smiles.


Mississippi closely followed Louisiana, with 17.3% of its children experiencing oral health problems during the same period. This compares starkly with the national average, where approximately 17% of children aged 6 to 9 are estimated to have undiagnosed cavities. In Mississippi, the figure rises to approximately 25% for children in the same age group.


In contrast, Rhode Island reported a significantly lower incidence of oral health issues among children, with only 10.4% affected over the same 24-month timeframe.


Dr. Kelsey Loveland, from Celebrate Dental & Braces, highlighted the complex factors contributing to these disparities, including socioeconomic conditions, access to dental insurance, and the effectiveness of public health programs such as community water fluoridation and school-based dental initiatives.


"States facing higher poverty rates and limited dental coverage tend to show poorer dental health outcomes," Loveland noted. "Addressing these disparities requires targeted efforts to improve healthcare access and educate communities about the importance of oral hygiene."

Efforts to prevent dental diseases not only support academic performance but also aim to enhance the overall quality of life for children and future generations, Loveland emphasized.

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