New Study Shows a Surprising Connection

Insecure about your oral health? You’re not alone. More than 25 percent of American adults report feeling less than confident about their oral health.

According to a recent Cigna survey, there’s a significant correlation between self-confidence and seeing the dentist regularly. The study found that 75 percent of individuals who saw the dentist reported having very high confidence.

Researchers on the survey compiled responses from 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 years and older and found that there was a significant divide in perceptions about oral health and dental care.

One significant takeaway revealed by the survey was that almost 75 percent of participants who fell into the Generation Z demographic (born between 1996 and 2010) felt that their oral health could be improved. Only half of baby boomers and older generations felt the same way.

Overall, younger generations were more likely to connect oral health with confidence; however, older generations are more likely to visit the dentist more often.

The Cigna study was conducted because the insurer – which offers both health and dental insurance services – routinely examines the connection between body and mind in order to identify ways customers can live healthier lives.

‘Oral health does play a factor in how many people feel about themselves,’ said Dr. Sean Endsley of Legends Dental in Waco.

Previous studies have connected having negative feelings about one’s oral health to being less likely to pursue relationships, go on job interviews and smile with confidence in pictures or social settings.

‘If you feel negatively about your smile, you’re not going to show it off. Instead, you’ll cover your mouth or not smile in pictures,’ Endsley said.

The survey also revealed obstacles to maintaining good oral health. Some of these obstacles include busy work schedules and difficulty getting to the dentist’s office. Participants in the study also gave feedback on ways to improve access to dental care, including on-site dental appointments at the workplace and even virtual visits. These options were popular among millennials and Generation Z.

Delta Dental, another dental insurer, shared on its website some other facts about how different age groups take care of their teeth.

Individuals who are 36 or older overwhelmingly feel – at a whopping 80.41 percent – that cleaning their teeth is an ‘important’ part of their daily routine.

Individuals who are 25 and younger didn’t rate taking care of their teeth as high. Only 55.83 percent feel as if oral hygiene is essential. Of this group, the primary focus was ‘preventing bad breath,’ at 48.06 percent. Having white teeth was also a priority at 43.69 percent.

This information shows that this age demographic is concerned with the appearance of their smile, not necessarily the health of it.

This age demographic also revealed they spend as little time as possible cleaning their teeth, and 15.53 percent said they forget to clean their teeth at all.

Source: Managed Healthcare Executive. Obtaining Oral Care Services Can Influence Self-Confidence. 13 January 2020.