Poll Finds That One-Third Of American Haven't Visited The Dentist In The Past Twelve Months
April 30, 2014

Gallup Poll Reveals Who Isn’t Visiting The Dentist Regularly

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

A new poll from Gallup Well-Being reveals that one-third of adults in the United States did not visit a dentist in the last 12 months. In 2013, the researchers found that 64.7 percent reported visiting the dentist in the previous year. This is essentially unchanged from the rate found in 2008. The poll also found that women are more likely than men to report visiting the dentist once a year.

As part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, researchers interviewed 178,072 American adults during 2013 and 354,645 adults during 2008 where the participants were asked whether they had visited the dentist in the past year. The researchers found similar rates for all the years in between.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), adults should work with their dentist to create a plan for dental care. Even those at the lowest risk for oral disease, however, should have a cleaning at least once a year.

The contrast between those who receive dental care and those who don't is visible along racial and ethnic lines as well. Approximately 55 percent of both African Americans and Hispanics report visiting the dentist in the past year, while Asian and white populations report nearly 70 percent. Since 2008, there has been a mild decline in the rate for African Americans, but the other groups remained basically the same.

The differences between age groups are much smaller. People between the ages of 18 and 29 were found to be the least likely to visit a dentist, but this was only marginally different than the rates of the middle aged or older. Since 2008, there has been an increase in dental visits by seniors, which is offset by a similar decrease in visits by those in the 30 to 44 age range.

Income and geographical location were also found to play a role. Those in the upper income brackets, say $120,000 or more annually, are twice as likely as those in the lowest bracket, $12,000 annually, to visit the dentist in the past year. Since the 2008 survey, dental visit rates have held steady for the top earners, but the low-and middle-income earners declined.

From 2008 to 2013, dental visit rates by geographical region stayed basically the same. The rate for the South is approximately 60 percent across all the study years, while it is highest in the East at 68.9 percent.

The researchers also noted a higher occurrence of dental visits in married individuals than those who were single. Those who are separated are the least likely, with the percentage rates dropping in this group nearly 6 percentage points since 2008.

Many potential negative health outcomes can be linked to poor oral care. When combined with other risk factors, poor oral care can lead to both heart disease and stroke, according to recent research. Periodontal disease during pregnancy has been linked to preterm births, and could possibly increase the risks for atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, among others.

How do dentists get more people into their offices, since oral care is so important to a person's overall health?

Productive Dentists Academy, a dental management consulting firm, is offering one new option for dentists. According to a recent statement, the company has begun filming videos to personalize the office and staff of dental practices for potential customers.

“It’s a great way to build trust and rapport with people before they set foot in the door,” said Vicki McManus, CEO and co-founder of The Academy.

After a full day of filming, the firm produces a one to two minute feature video for the practice, offering visually pleasing footage of everything from the lobby to the operatories. Dentists can buy two bonus videos highlighting specific subject matter. These videos are appropriate for use on Facebook, YouTube, and TV commercials, while the bonus clips are perfect for enhancing personal websites, according to the firm.