Preventing Tooth Decay

Nearly all tooth decay can be prevented. CDHP helps identify cost-effective options for preventing decay, and stopping it from spreading.

Prevention is cost effective! Dentists can "drill-and-fill" cavities, but it's better if cavities don't occur in the first place.

CDHP works to promote dental care for pregnant women so babies and children have lower risk of being infected with cavity-causing bacteria. With partners in New York State, we're analyzing the public health savings when at-risk children do things like twice-a-day brushing with fluoride toothpaste. (We're looking at disease management too, to stop decay from getting worse.)

We're researching school sealant programs -- a proven approach for reducing decay. Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are applied to children's permanent teeth (especially the most cavity-prone teeth). Sealants can prevent 60% of decay -- for a fraction of the cost of a filling.

And CDHP is a resource for the science and legal grounding on the importance (and safety) of community water fluoridation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls community water fluoridation "one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century." (Psst: If your water is optimally fluoridated, your risk of cavities is reduced by 25% over a lifetime.)

Learn more about these and other prevention measures under Topics and Resources

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Did you know?

44% }
of U.S. children will have at least one cavity by kindergarten.
More on the state of dental health ›