According to the U.S. Surgeon General's 1998 report on oral health:
* In the United States, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease--five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.
* Fifty percent of children ages 5 to 9 have at least one cavity or filling. By the time they reach 17, the figure rises to 78%.
* Poor children are twice as likely to suffer from tooth decay as more affluent children. Moreover, tooth decay among impoverished kids is much more likely to remain untreated.
* About 108 million Americans lack dental insurance.
* In 1998, expenditures for dental services reached $53.8 billion, or 4.7% of the United States' health expenses.