Crunching numbers from a 2004 survey, the agency found that 45 percent of Americans 20 years old or younger visit a dentist at least once a year.
Still that was only a tiny increase over 1996, when a similar survey showed 42 percent of youths saw a dentist that often.
And despite the increase, the numbers show that public health goals are far from being met in this area; the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that the young visit the dentist twice a year.
Among the surveys other findings:
- Only 31 percent of children from poor families saw a dentist once a year compared with 47 percent of children from middle-income families and 62 percent from high-income families.
- Only about 34 percent of black youths and 33 percent of Hispanic youths saw a dentist annually. The percentage was much higher -- nearly 53 percent --for white youths.
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