By Fluoridation Status
Despite the fact that dental disease is largely preventable, large numbers of local children are affected by tooth decay. To learn more about decay, prevention and the health unit's dental program, please visit health facts on the health unit's website and look for dental health. The health unit's oral health team screens school children every year for dental health concerns. This section has data on tooth decay from these screening data.
of tooth decay is measured through the proportion of cavity free children. Cavity free children are those who have no decayed teeth, no fillings, and no missing teeth (due to cavities) at the time of screening. As of the 2015-2016 school year, the percentage of cavity free children declines from 74.9% (73.7, 76.2
) in JK children, to 64.3% (62.9, 65.6
) in SK children to 51.7% (50.3, 53.1
) in Grade 2 children. The teeth in Grade 2 children have been in the mouth longer than the teeth in a JK or SK child, and have had a longer period of time to develop cavities, therefore, fewer children in grade 2 are cavity free compared to younger grades.
The severity of tooth decay is measured through the average number of teeth which are decayed, filled, or missing (due to cavities) in a population. Similar to the prevalence of decay by age, the severity of cavities increases significantly from JK to Grade 2*. In the 2015-2016 school year, JK children had on average 1.13 (1.07, 1,13) teeth affected by cavities (decayed, missing or filled), while SK children had 1.73 (1.69, 1.76) and Grade 2 children had 2.52 (2.48, 2.57). In addition, historical data shows that tooth decay has decreased significantly in all three age groups over the last five years in Simcoe Muskoka.
By Fluoridation Status
Fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride levels in water to benefit dental health. The addition of fluoride to water has worked to reduce tooth decay in communities around the world for 70 years. Overall, 3.5% of the population of Simcoe and Muskoka has fluoride added to their public drinking water supply. For more statistics on water fluoridation in Simcoe and Muskoka, please visit the HealthSTATS page on Water Fluoridation.
In Simcoe and Muskoka, children attending school in fluoridated communities are more likely to be cavity free than those attending school in non-fluoridated communities. This difference is significant for all three age groups: JK, SK and Grade 2. For example 65.8% (59.8, 71.4) of grade 2 children attending school in fluoridated communities are cavity free. This is compared to the 50.9% (49.4, 52.3) of grade 2 children attending school in non-fluoridated communities who are cavity free.
In addition, children attending school in fluoridated communities have a lower average number of teeth affected by cavities. This difference is also significant for all three age groups: JK, SK and Grade 2. For example, grade 2 children attending school in fluoridated communities have on average 1.62 (1.47, 1.77) teeth affected by cavities, while those in non-fluoridated communities have 2.57 (2.53, 2.62).
Please note that confidence intervals are presented for all graphs on this page, however, due to large sample sizes, the confidence intervals are very small and may not appear on graphs due to scale.