The Declining State of Dental Health in the U.S.: An Effect of Economic Hardship?

Light.The state of dental health in the U.S. remains a cause for concern, especially among children and young adults nationwide. Statistics released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control suggest that more than 16% of children aged between 6 and 19 suffer with untreated dental caries, while this rate rises to more than 23% among an older demographic of adults.

With approximately 1 in 5 of all Americans having untreated cavities, there is genuine concern at the lack of progress that has been made in terms of improving general dental health throughout the U.S.. The question that remains, however, is whether the issue resolves around a gap in knowledge or the financial constraints that are restricting households nationwide?

The Gathering Economic Gloom: How Oral Health is Suffering in Difficult Financial Times

With approximately 78.9% of children aged between 2 and 17 visiting their dentist on a regular basis, it is clear that some parents are failing to prioritize the importance of consistent dental check ups. In addition to this, just 61.1% of adults aged between 18 and 64 attend scheduled dental appointments, and these statistics make it clear that a rising number of U.S. citizens are failing to capitalize on the benefits offered by routine oral procedures. While some may point to a generational lack of knowledge and awareness when it comes the importance of maintaining good dental health, it is more likely that the worsening economic climate is forcing parents to make some difficult financial choices.

The rise in untreated cavities has certainly coincided with the prolonged periods of recession in recent times, which have had a considerable impact on the levels of disposable income available to U.S. households. With a growing number of patients also on Medicaid and attempting to find ways of balancing their budgets, eliminating dental check-ups and routine work has become an increasingly widespread practice. The issue with this is that routine dental check ups help to identify cavities and oral healthcare issues quickly, and prevent the likelihood of long term decay and damage.

Regular Dental Checkups Catch Problems Early

While we can all sympathize with families who have been forced to make difficult economic decisions, it is important not to underestimate the importance of maintaining good oral health. More specifically, parents should not disregard the role that routine dental check ups play in helping to diagnose potential issues before they become a great source of pain and discomfort. With gum disease and tooth decay also being linked to a wide range of general health issues, now is not the time to ignore the benefits of scheduled dental check ups.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
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Austin, Texas, 78746
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