According to a new nationwide survey, married people are more likely to see a dentist than unmarried people, although only about two-thirds of people saw a dentist this year, and less saw the dentist this year than in previous years.
Overall Numbers Who Went to See the Dentist
According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey of more than 175,000 adults–about half as many as participated during the 2008 survey–fewer adults are seeing their dentist every year than in the past. The results showed that 64.7% of respondents had seen a dentist in the last year, down from 65.7% in 2008. Men were much less likely than women to see the dentist, 62.0% compared to 67.2%, and saw a much more significant drop. In 2008, 63.5% of men had seen a dentist in the previous year, compared to about 67.8% of women.
Ethnicity, Age, and Oral Health
There is a huge divide among ethnic groups as far as making it to the dentist. The survey showed that only about 55% of black and Hispanics had seen a dentist in the previous year, compared to nearly 70% of whites and Asians.
However, a significant increase in people age 65+ going to the dentist in the last year puts all age groups very close to one another, with those age 18-24 at the lower end (62.4% had seen a dentist in the last year) and those age 45-64 at the higher end (66.7%).
Income and Marital Status
Income accounts for the largest disparity in people seeing the dentist, but marital status is the second largest factor.
At the highest income level ($120,000+), 82.3% of people saw a dentist in the last year, compared to only 42.7% of people at the lowest income level (<$12,000 a year). The numbers dropped for every income level except the highest one.
Marital status made almost as big a difference in dental visits as income. Married people are most likely to see the dentist, at 70.9%. Single people are the second most likely to see the dentist at 60.7%. However, separated people are least likely to see the dentist, at 46.6%.
Confirming Smaller-Scale Results
We had recently talked about a survey of people in Kentucky about their visits to the dentist. That study showed about the same number of adults seeing the dentist in the past 12 months (64% vs. 65%). This new study didn’t give us a good sense of the urban/rural divide. It’s also worth noting that the number of people who saw a dentist in the lowest income level was about the same as the uninsured rate in the previous study (43%).
If you’re among the third of people who hasn’t been to the dentist in the past year, we invite you to come in for a checkup today. Please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell in Philadelphia today.