According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, a division of the US National Institutes of Health, “oral health in general has improved significantly over the past several decades in all population subgroups.” However, despite the improvement in oral health among adult Americans, “significant disparities are still found in some population groups.”

The first of these are found in the length of time between visits to the dentist among adults aged 20 – 64 years. While virtually all dental health professionals recommend that an adult visit their dentist at least once every 12 months, a significant portion of the adult population have not visited their dentist in five years or more. The NIDCR has also found significant differences in the number of visits to the dentist based on race, education, and/or socio-economic status.

Length of time since last visit to the dentist, for adults age 20 – 64:

  • Some 24 million of approximately 200 million in this age group have not been to the dentist within the past 5 years. (Approx. 12%)
  • 60% have been to the dentist in the past year.
  • More Black and Hispanic adults have not been to the dentist in the past 5 years.
  • More adults with lower incomes have not been to the dentist in the past 5 years.
  • Adults with less education have not been to the dentist in the past 5 years.
  • White adults, and adults those with higher incomes and a greater level of education, are more likely to have seen a dentist within the past year.

Of most concern for a dental professional would be the sheer number of adults in the US who have not visited the dentist in the past five years. With ongoing research indicating that there is a direct connection between dental health and overall health (see our post in The Dental Health Blog: Gum Disease Leads to More than Tooth Loss – How gum disease affects your entire body), the fact that such a large number of American adults are either unable or unwilling to focus on dental health is a serious issue. Changing this trend must become an important element of ongoing health education in the US.

While objective numbers like those shared above are illuminating, the NDIC has also reported on the subjective impression adults’ age 20 – 64 have of the condition of their teeth; in other words, how these adults feel about the condition of their teeth and mouth.

Individual perception of oral health for adults age 20 – 60:

  • Some 25% of adults report that the condition of their teeth and mouth is excellent or very good.
  • 14% of adults report that the condition of their teeth and mouth is poor.
  • More Black and Hispanic adults report that the condition of their teeth and mouth is poor.
  • More adults with lower incomes report that the condition of their teeth and mouth is poor.
  • Adults with less education report that the condition of their teeth and mouth is poor.
  • Current smokers are much more likely to report that the condition of their mouth is poor.
  • White adults, and adults those with higher incomes and a greater level of education, are much more likely to report that the condition of their teeth and mouth is very good or excellent.

The overall impression gained from these data are that education and economic opportunity should be the focus of improving dental health in general, with the side benefit being an improvement in general health as well.

The doctors and staff at The Colorado Center for Implant and Prosthetic Dentistry are available to help you determine effective solutions to all of your dental problems. If you would like more information from your Littleton area Prosthodontist, please call to make an appointment today.

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