Statistics can give valuable insight into the habits of Americans, who don’t always place enough importance on the health of their teeth and gums. Here are five surprising adult dentistry stats, along with what they reveal about oral health in America.
When it comes to prioritizing dental health, many people are all talk. After polling a large sample of Americans, the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute found that nine in ten regarded their oral health as a critical part of their overall well-being. Despite this perspective, however, over 33 percent of Americans fail to floss their teeth each day. To protect your dental health, you should brush twice and floss at least once per day, using the ADA’s flossing recommendations to guide you.
A surprising number of people do not invest in their dental health. Although 80 percent of Americans recognize the high value of having dental benefits, only about six in ten actually pay for them. This is a problematic discovery, since people without insurance are at a higher risk of losing their teeth as they get older. In addition to making dental treatments more expensive, the lack of dental insurance coverage often makes people reluctant to visit the dentist to find minor issues before they develop into serious problems requiring costly treatments.
There aren’t enough dentists to go around. Right now, there are more than 155,000 U.S. dentists, according to the federal Bureau of Labor. By 2020, that number is expected to grow by about 32,000. Unfortunately, that number is not expected to meet the rising demand for dental services. Negative lifestyle factors are contributing to the rising need for dentists. Unfortunately, too many Americans fail to use good oral hygiene on a regular basis, while countless others fail to schedule regular dental examinations, which can catch minor issues before they evolve into serious problems.
One in two people are afflicted with gum disease. If you run your tongue along your gums, you might think they feel perfectly healthy. In reality, there’s a coin-flip chance you have some form of periodontal disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 percent of American adults aged 30 and over have gum disease. That amounts to nearly 65 million people who have mild, moderate or severe periodontal disease. Unfortunately, because symptoms often go unnoticed, people fail to seek treatment until things get serious. This is why it’s so important to maintain regular dental checkups to find problematic issues in their infancies, before they evolve into painful, expensive issues.
Tooth loss is still a major problem. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the prevalence of partial and total adult tooth loss has decreased from the early 1970s. Unfortunately, it’s still a major problem for many American adults. According to the CDC, by age 50, the typical American will have lost an average of 12 teeth. Most of this is due to cavities and periodontal disease, which could have been avoided through proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.