1 in 3 Americans didn't visit a dentist last year
SUMMARY: According to a new Gallup poll, about one-third of Americans reported not visiting the dentists within the past 12 months. Income, more than age, race or geographic location, makes the most difference.
Posted: May 5, 2014
According to a new Gallup poll, one-third of Americans did not visit the dentist within the past 12 months, a trend that has remained unchanged from 2008.
These findings are based on interviews with 178,072 adults during 2013 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and demonstrate that Americans might need to rethink their oral health standards.
Females are more likely than men to report visiting the dentist annually. About 67 percent of women said they saw their dental professional within the past year, while 62 percent of men reported doing so.
Regular dental visits are essential in steering clear of problems like plaque or tartar buildup, tooth decay and gum disease. It also presents a good opportunity to ask about oral health concerns such as tonsil stones and dry mouth, which are side effects of many prescription medicines.
The American Dental Association recommends that all adults and kids plan a trip to the dental office, even if nothing seems wrong. Experts point out that you shouldn't have to suffer from a toothache to see your dental professional. Keep your smile clean and healthy with preventive treatments every six months.
Young adults, blacks and Hispanics least likely to visit dentist
Young Americans aged 18 to 29 are among the demographic that's least likely to see their dental professional compared to those who are middle aged or older, but only marginally so. Adults aged 45 to 64 appear to be the most diligent.
Among racial and ethnic groups, 55 percent of both black and Hispanic individuals reported visiting the dentist in the past year. Since 2008, there has been a small decline in dental visits among blacks. In contrast, white and Asian individuals each visit the dentist about 70 percent of the time recommended.
The most drastic difference in dental habits are across income groups. According to the Gallup, the more money Americans make, the more likely they are to keep their teeth clean with regular dental visits, as those who earn $120,000 or more annually are about twice as likely to visit the dentist as those who earn less.
What's more, 2013 rates are lowest in the South at 60 percent and highest in East at about 69 percent.