Gallup recently conducted a poll asking American adults how often they had seen a dentist in the past year, and the results may surprise you. According to Gallup, 35% of adult Americans have not visited a dental office in the last 12 months. Analysis of the findings also point to socioeconomic issues as being possibly responsible for infrequent dental visits.
According to the results of the phone survey by Gallup of 178,072 random individuals, one in three did not see a dentist in the past year and apparently income has a lot to do with it. Gallup noted that people who had a yearly income of at least $120,000 were twice as likely to have visited their dentist in the past year.
It’s fairly obvious that those who bring in less money would have to put off seeing the dentist in order to make ends meet. But some other results may surprise you. For instance, did you know that married people are by far more likely to see a dentist than a single person? Also, people who are separated or divorced are the least likely to have seen a dentist in the last year.
The Impact of Bad Oral Health
The problem with these findings is the major impact this is having on the overall health of millions of people. Regular dental visits are key in the early detection of many health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
The American Dental Association recommends that adults visit their dentist at least once a year. The ADA explains that everyone can benefit from a yearly cleaning, even if you are at a low risk for developing oral disease. Putting it off really can cause more pain, time and money than it’s worth.
If left unchecked, a cavity may lead to a tooth abscess, a collection of pus caused by a bacterial infection of the tooth. Damage to the tooth enamel, typically caused by a cavity, allows bacteria to penetrate into the center of the tooth, causing an infection.
Dental caries, or tooth decay, destroys tooth enamel and must be treated. Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of periodontal (gum) disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque, making them more sensitive and susceptible to tooth decay. This can lead to tooth loss, pain and more serious problems. Visiting the dentist regularly can help prevent dental caries.
If you haven’t yet this year, please call Dr. Matthews and set up and appointment for a check-up and cleaning. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself all year.