ST. PAUL (AP) — A new report finds tooth decay is still a chronic problem among Minnesota children.

The Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday that 55 percent of Minnesota third-graders surveyed in 2010 had cavities. That compares with a national rate of 53 percent for children 6 to 8 years old.

The state Health Department has produced a Minnesota oral health plan. The plan outlines the populations most at risk for oral disease, the obstacles to routine dental care, and strategies for improving oral health.

According to the report, Minnesota had $148 million in emergency department charges between 2007 and 2010 for preventable conditions that could have been treated by a dentist.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger says it's unacceptable that so many children and adults suffer from preventable dental conditions.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.