Dental Caries: Decay Over Four Times Higher Among Alaskan Native Kids
Dental caries and general decay among rural Alaska Native children is as much as 4 1/2 times higher than children in the general U.S. population, according to a new CDC report.
The CDC and Alaska state health officials released the report Thursday that details the findings of a 2008 investigation. The state also worked on the report.
The study found that soda pop consumption and lack of water fluoridation are primary factors associated with dental decay in both baby and adult teeth.
Brad Whistler, the state's oral health director and one of the authors of the report, said, “Most parts of rural Alaska are not fluoridated,” reports AP.
Five rural Yupik communities in a 52-village region took part in the study, three with non-fluoridated water and two with fluoridated systems.
The area was not named in the report and state and CDC officials declined to identify it at the request of the regional tribal health organization, who feared the area would be stigmatized.
Study participant Tom Hennessy, director of the CDC's Arctic Investigations program, said the results could be “applicable to a large number of rural communities in Alaska,” AP reports.
348 children between the ages of four and 15 were screened and parents were surveyed to determine risk factors.