The HP 2020 objective that is chosen for discussion and connected with the oral health of adults is “Reduce the proportion of adults with untreated dental decay” (Healy People, 2016). The data for this objective was gained from two main sources: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and National Center for Health Statistics. They assess the health status of the US population and provide statistical information to define actions that should be conducted to improve the health of people.
Untreated dental decay is the problem that is faced by numbers of individuals all over the world. It can be caused by different triggers, but they all lead to the formation of plaque that soon causes a cavity and allows bacteria reach the dentine. As a rule, dental decay occurs “in teeth at the back of the mouth, known as molars and premolars” (NHS, 2014, par. 8). It cannot be stopped without special treatment and may lead to the dental abscess.
Dental decay is mainly caused by:
- Poor oral hygiene. It is necessary to “regularly brush teeth and clean between them with floss or an interdental brush” (NHS, 2014).
- Bad habits. Smoking has an adverse influence on the production of saliva that protects teeth. Alcohol is likely to affect tooth enamel.
- Dry mouth. Individuals who have particular health problems or receive medical treatment may not have enough saliva. Thus, the acids are not neutralized and particles of food are stuck between teeth.
- Diet. The products people eat and drink also influence the condition of their teeth. Sweet, sticky and starchy things are high in carbohydrates that increase the risk of dental decay.
- Environment. Except for the mentioned causes, the development of dental decay can be promoted by the environmental peculiarities. For example, the quality of water people drink affects the overall health condition, including dental one.
- Diabetes. People with this condition have high blood sugar that affects the health of the person and ruins one’s teeth.
- Lack of fluoride. It helps teeth to resist to acids, so its shortage increases the risks of dental decay. Still, today fluoride is commonly added to water.
- Acidic environments. After meals, the acid environment in the mouth changes and teen become more vulnerable.
- Diseases. The diseases that do not allow the enamel to form decently make it not strong enough to protect teeth.
- Poverty. Even though it is a social determinant, poverty presupposes that people live in poor condition and are not able to look after their teeth decently.
The main disparities associated with untreated dental decay are “sex, race and ethnicity education, disability, and income” (Healthy People, 2016). According to the statistics, the number of females who have untreated dental decay is lower than the number of males. Women are commonly believed to pay more attention to the way they look like, which includes a smile. Individuals who received good education usually have a decent income and have an opportunity to pay more for the services needed to improve their oral health. Disable persons suffer from untreated dental decay because they are often not able to regularly brush their teeth and have poor access to health care, including dental services. Finally, non-native population of the US (African Americans and Mexican Americans) are reported to have a worse oral health condition than the whites. It is likely to happen because these individuals generally have lower-paid jobs, limited access to health care and poor living conditions.
Healthy People. (2016). Oral health. Web.
NHS. (2014). Tooth decay. Web.