When area health officials notice that a high percentage of children in their towns are experiencing tooth decay, they should work to increase awareness of the importance of dental health. For example, the Le Mars Daily Sentinel, an Iowa news source, recently reported that youth in Plymouth County seem to be experiencing tooth decay at a rate higher than the state average.
While a state survey showed that 15.5 percent of kindergarteners and ninth graders across Iowa had some areas of tooth decay, 16 percent of kindergarteners and 18 percent of ninth graders in Plymouth County were found to have cavities.
Dawn Ericson, coordinator for I-Smile, a state program that helps young people gain access to affordable dental care, cited insufficient fluoride exposure as the possible cause behind the high tooth decay rates.
"Some people aren't getting as much fluoride as they used to, with the different reverse osmosis systems and bottled water," she told the Sentinel.
The American Dental Hygienists' Association states that community water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to help prevent tooth decay, which is it why it's important for children to drink tap water.
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