In England, 90% of the children under 12 have dental caries - decayed teeth -and about 17 million Britons have lost all of their teeth. Seven hundred thousand Norwegians are toothless. In Scotland, 44% of the population over the age of 16 no longer possess their natural teeth. Over 25 million Americans have lost their natural teeth, 98% of the U.S. population have cavities (a total of one billion cavities), and 75% have gum diseases which can cause loss of teeth. To repair all Americans' dental damage would cost an estimated $8 billion a year - twice our current expenditure. Dental researchers are looking continually for new ways to prevent this gigantic problem. Proposed solutions range from adding fluoride to drinking water to "glazing" the teeth with laser beams to using such things as sophisticated chemicals, vaccines made from organisms which dwell in the mouths of most people, natural cement produced by tiny sea animals, and the usual toothbrush-dental-floss-see-your-dentist-twice-a year routine. In spite of all this extensive research, dental problems continue to be a big headache, or should we say "toothache"?
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