Do Americans go to the dentist more often or less than in the past, and are they doing enough for their oral health? Those are complicated questions, especially because the numbers tell slightly different stories when broken down by variables such as age. The most recent data reveals that oral health habits in the country have shifted somewhat in the past decades, and not necessarily in a consistent direction.
"People are taking their kids' oral health seriously."
Have people seen a dentist within the past year?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues surveys on whether people have visited a dentist within the past year. Divided by age group, the numbers show that people are especially committing to getting their 2 to 17-year-old kids to see a hygienist. In 1997, 72.7 percent of people in this age range had seen a dentist within 12 months. By 2010, the number was 78.9 percent. By 2014, it had spiked again to 83 percent. This is an encouraging trend, showing that people are taking their kids' oral health seriously.
But what about the generation raising those children? That's where the story breaks down a little. The CDC reported that 60.4 percent of people aged 18-64 had been to the dentist within a year of the 1997 study. But the number went down by 2010, to 56.8 percent. In 2014, the percentage recovered to 58.1 percent, but still trailed the 1997 figures.
Brushing at home
When it comes to caring for their teeth at home, adults have showed themselves willing to brush, but perhaps unaware of how hard or long they should do so. A 2009 scholarly study on frequency and strength of teeth-brushing found adults mostly brush twice a day. Nearly 8 in every 10 respondents cared for teeth twice a day, but only just over one-fourth brushed with enough force to be in line with "appropriate brushing habits."
Products that help
The need for oral care, either in the home or by visiting a dentist, is pressing. The brushing study recommended more education to let people know what hygienists recommend. Nobody wants to suffer cavities or tooth decay, so letting them know how to take care of their own teeth is logical.
While using toothpaste or mouthwash doesn't take the place of a dentist's visit, we at TheraBreath make sure to put cavity-fighting power in our products. Our line of toothpastes help with cavity prevention are free of harsh detergents and provide a truly fresh and healthy mouth and the confidence that comes along with it.