With ever-increasing stress and busy schedules, you may find that taking care of yourself often takes a back burner. But should it? According to the Charlotte Business Journal, many people in the United States are putting their oral health last.
In a recent article, the news source reported that more than 100 million Americans do not see the dentist each year - despite knowing the benefits of semi-annual visits.
'Regular visits to the dentist help prevent issues or help to identify issues early on so that you can get treatment,' said Dr. Sean Endsley of Legends Dental in Waco, Texas.
Seeing the dentist regularly also helps to keep treatments affordable.
'Treating something early on may help to prevent major restoration work later,' Endsley said.
The article also highlights facts about the state of oral health for those not seeing the dentist as recommended - for example, 92 percent of adults have cavities during their lifetime as a direct result of inadequate preventive oral care.
Just under half of the men in the U.S. report brushing their teeth twice a day. Women who brush their teeth twice a day come in a little higher at 57 percent.
Thirty percent of adults report never flossing their teeth, which is detrimental to the teeth and gums.
Not Just Adults
One in seven children in the U.S. ages 12 and under suffered from poor oral health, and those children were three times more likely to miss school because of dental pain compared to their peers with healthy mouths.
Nearly 4 billion people around the world are impacted by oral diseases, such as tooth decay or gum disease.
'Untreated oral health issues can be painful and cause issues with eating and nutrition,' Endsley said.
Untreated oral health issues have consequences beyond the mouth, too. Ninety percent of all systemic diseases first develop in the mouth.
'Swollen gums, mouth ulcers and xerostomia (dry mouth) can be signs of illness in other parts of the body,' Endsley said.
Not seeing the dentist isn't always about not wanting to; in some cases, it's a matter of not having the means to pay for care.
While having dental insurance can help reduce costs and stress associated with paying for dental checkups and treatments, some costs are still high and can lead people to not go to the dentist when they should.
Those individuals and families with dental insurance are twice as likely to go to the dentist than individuals without insurance - so they get the preventative treatments they need.
Endsley encourages individuals to brush at least twice a day and floss their teeth at least once per day.
'You should also visit the dentist at least twice a year,' Endsley said.
Source: Charlotte Business Journal. The statistics don't lie: Why it's important to maintain your oral health. 11 October 2019.