Hope for the future
Compared with their parents, many Americans now enjoy markedly better oral health. However, certain segments of the population (e.g., those who have low incomes, are members of racial or ethnic minority groups, or are older) have severe dental decay, much of which remains untreated. Healthy People 2010 objectives seek to eliminate these disparities, so that all Americans receive the benefits of good oral health. Community-based programs, such as community water fluoridation and school-based dental sealant programs, are cost-effective ways to achieve this goal. For example, if half of the children at high risk for tooth decay participated in school sealant programs, half of the caries that these children otherwise would develop would be prevented.