Dental Disease: "Silent Epidemic"
In 2000, the U.S. Surgeon General's office released a report declaring America's high prevalence of dental disease a "silent epidemic." The report aimed to raise awareness that oral health is an integral part of overall well-being and that no distinction should be made between oral and general health. Yet, many people in the United States have inadequate access to dental care and suffer from untreated dental disease. Untreated dental disease is the top reason children miss school, according to the Surgeon General's report. And it can be deadly, as demonstrated by the 2007 death from a brain infection of a 12-year-old Maryland boy with an untreated tooth infection. Community water fluoridation remains one of the most cost-effective public health interventions in America, yet it still faces significant opposition. Updated March 2010