ADA: Many adults won't visit dentist this year

By - Bad Breath Expert

SUMMARY: An ADA study shows that many Americans have no plans to visit the dentist in the next 12 months because of cost and other complications.

Posted: January 20, 2015

While there's no room for debate on the importance of regular visits to the dentist, many adults aren't making time for this vital practice. A recent study from the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute showed that more than one-fifth of adults are not planning to visit their dentists within the next 12 months, as has been the case for the past few years.

The cost of care 
Just under 23 percent of adults were either unsure if they would visit the dentist in the next year or positive that they wouldn't, according to the study. The reasons for putting off dental examinations were varied, but most respondents indicated they didn't have the time, didn't believe they needed dental care or couldn't afford a dentist visit. Cost was by far the most prominent reason for avoiding dentist visits, cited by more than 40 percent of people who weren't planning to receive dental care in the next year.

People who reported lower incomes or were Medicaid recipients were far more likely to cite cost as the factor keeping them from visiting the dentist. According to the ADA, the decision by Medicaid to deprioritize dental care for adults and the lack of essential benefit status from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have led many people to forego dentist visits.

How healthy are our mouths? 
Nearly 33 percent stated they didn't need to visit the dentist because their mouths were already healthy, the next most common reason for not planning a visit. The ADA suggested that more research would be needed to get to the heart of this belief. While some people may not need dental care because of real improvements in oral health, others may not fully understand the benefits of dentist visits or the consequences of poor oral health. Some respondents also said they didn't receive regular oral care because of unreliable transportation or anxiety issues.

Dental emergencies 
Maintaining proper oral health can do more than help people avoid bad breath and tooth decay. Pain and other serious health problems can result from a lack of good dental hygiene. Without proper dental care, the ADA said patients may require more visits to emergency dental clinics. The organization's Action for Dental Health program is working to help people with lower incomes avoid emergency room visits, in part by increasing oral health education.

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