Children's Dental Care: Advice and Visits

MEPS Statistical Brief No. 432

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay affects children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease. Untreated tooth decay causes pain and infections that may lead to other serious problems. Dental care visits are important to prevent and treat tooth decay and other dental problems in children.

Children's Dental Care: Advice and Visits, a statistical brief from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), presents estimates based on the Household Component of MEPS on the advice given by a doctor or other health provider to the parents of children for their dental checkups and frequency of children's actual visits to the dentist.


  • In 2011, doctors or other health providers advised regular dental checkups for a little more than half of children between the ages of 2 and 17.
  • Black, non-Hispanic and Hispanic children visited dentists at a lower rate than white, non-Hispanic children.
  • Only about one-fourth of uninsured children visited a dentist in 2011.
  • Poor children were less likely to receive dental care in 2011 than children from high-income families.
  • Children of college-educated parents made dental visits at higher rates than those whose parents had completed high school or attained less than a high school education.

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Current as of April 2014
Internet Citation: Children's Dental Care: Advice and Visits : MEPS Statistical Brief No. 432. April 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.