Prevention of Caries in Children Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Prevention Statistics

Children and young adults often have a much harder time adhering to dental hygiene routines that prevent decay and the progression of caries. Often times, they fail to understand the importance of the routines and the damage that could be caused. In order to strengthen primary prevention strategies, many local municipalities have begun adding fluoride to water sources. This is a great way to augment other prevention strategies because it requires no extra effort on behalf of those benefiting from its treatment. This current research aims to explore whether or not this secondary strategy has been successful in reducing rates of untreated caries in children and young adults, ages 6 to 19. The research used regression, z-Test, and t-Test analysis in order to test the hypothesis that adding fluoride to water does help prevent caries. All three tests suggested that this is true and that ultimately; adding fluoride is an efficient strategy for preventing tooth decay.


This current research is exploring rising trends of adding fluoride to water in order to evaluate it as a secondary strategy for preventing caries in children and young adults. Due to the importance of preventing caries, especially in vulnerable populations like children and young adults, understanding what strategies are working is crucial to long-term healthcare efforts. Thus, this research compares increasing rates of water fluoridation with rates of untreated caries within the population in order to test the hypothesis that such increases in the use of fluoridation is successful in decreasing rates of dental health problems.


As previously seen, dental health is a major concern, especially in regards to young children. Often times, children do not have the same due diligence as adults to keep up with dental hygiene routines, which can ultimately impact the success of prevention strategies. This research then aims to explore secondary strategies as a way to test whether they are successful in strengthening primary strategies to prevent caries in children and young adults. The objective of this research is to understand how effective evidence-based practice techniques used to help prevent untreated caries in children and young adults.

The research was reviewed to find an appropriate prevention method that has been successful on a large scale in order to demonstrate its importance in actual practice and help provide support for future practice. Ultimately, it was clear that many prevention methods often go without high levels of commitment, given the nature of the child population. Many children do not stick to prevention regiments as diligently as adults, and so the notion of adding fluoride to public water sources was used as a way to suggest that children really rely on unintended prevention methods just as much as they do other, intended methods. Fluoridation in water strengthens prevention strategies without any effort on behalf of the children. This is a strategy that is secondary and aims to augment other, more actively engaging strategies.

This current research aims to test whether this secondary strategy has been successful in recent years for increasing the strength of preventing caries in children and young adults. The hypothesis was that as increasing levels of the population receive fluoride added water from public works, the rate of untreated caries in children and young adults are decreasing because it is an added prevention tool that helps augment what the child is actually intending to do in terms of his or her oral health care. Ultimately, as fluoridation of water sources increases, the hypothesis here is that caries in children and young adults is decreasing across the United States.


The current research used previously recorded data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has statistical data on statistics of dental health, including incidences of caries for the American population. From such data, the sample population was targeted. The targeted sample population represents children and young adults, ages 6 to 19. This population is often most vulnerable to oral issues, based on a limited understanding of the importance of oral health. The population is often the one that is most often to not be as diligent in their oral care routine. Thus, the study broke the population into three groups, 6-19 to represent the total age group, 6-11, and 12-19. The sample population comes from the target age group from across the United States.

Importance of the Research

Essentially, oral health is of huge importance. Many suffer unnecessary pain and costs associated with filling cavities and other dental work associated with poor oral health care regiments. Even worse, there are rising costs associated with dental care, especially if caries are left untreated and lead to more severe dental issues. Unfortunately, "data for the most recent time period still show high levels of untreated cavities: 19.5% in children ages 2-5 and 22.9% in children ages 6-19" (CDC, 2010). The research highlights that gender and race do not seem to be statistically significant factors in rates of untreated cavities (CDC, 2010). Children are one of the most vulnerable populations based on their lack of knowledge regarding dental hygiene and the importance of routines involving dental care. Often times, their dietary choices and routines do not place dental hygiene at a high enough priority in order to avoid causing future damage that may lead to caries and other dental hygiene issues. This often leads the population to have high percentages of problems regarding dental hygiene, which can be both painful to the child and costly to the parent.

Even worse, children are most often the group to purposely avoid the very elements of a good oral health care routine. Although they are taught proper dental hygiene results by dentists, they often fail to have the same attention to detail as adults and are often reluctant for treatment practices while undergoing dental work (Rozier, 2008). Many times parents are not as adamant as they should be about enforcing such routines. As the children get older and begin to make their own decisions, many do not place as much of an importance on dental hygiene as they should. Ultimately, this combined with limited knowledge on oral health, creates a situation where regiments may not be as strict as they need to. Therefore, primary strategies for preventing caries and other dental hygiene issues may not be as strong as they could be, or as seen in other populations like adults who are more knowledgeable about the ramifications of not attending to proper dental hygiene techniques.

Thus, adding fluoride to public drinking water is an additional step that can help secure greater prevention in one of the most difficult target populations served by dentistry today. It is a secondary strategy that takes absolutely no effort on behalf of the sample population. Most children do not even know that the water they are drinking contains fluoride in it. This is a secondary strategy that aims to increase defense against caries without having to force children and young adults to change their habits or enforce routines that they may not understand or agree with. Still, adding fluoride is a costly endeavor and one that has seen its fair share of controversy over the years. In order to continue the practice, it is important that real results be examined. Thus, this current research aims to evaluate the increasing practice against rates of documented caries in children and young adults in order to test its efficiency and make an argument that the practice should continue, despite any additional costs to local and federal governments.


In order to test the hypothesis, two primary variables will be compared to each other. First, there is the percent of the U.S. population as a whole which is receiving fluoride added water through public works infrastructure systems. This is a variable which represents the increasing use of the practice to illustrate how more and more of the population, including children and young adults, are being exposed to water with fluoridation. It represents increasing trends, where more and more of the United States is turning to the secondary strategy to help increase overall dental health of the population.

This will then be compared to three age groups and the percentage of the population with untreated caries as noted by the CDC in an oral health census over an extensive period of time. Untreated essentially means that they had developed caries within a period of time and have not yet had such cavities filled. It helps represent the state of oral health for the sample population being explored. These variables will be tested for three-year periods, 1989, 2004, and 2008.

Specific Questions

Are unintended prevention methods working?

Has adding fluoride to water sources been successful in reducing untreated caries in the sample population?

Does the additional step of adding fluoride to water augment the success of other oral health care regiments geared towards children and young adults?

Sampling Methods

The nature of what is being researched is difficult to gather data independently. Getting access to dental…

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