Dental Tribune America

About 1 in 3 US adults have not visited the dentist in a year

By Dental Tribune International
May 01, 2014

WASHINGTON, USA: The latest figures released by U.S. research company Gallup indicate that almost one-third of Americans do not visit the dentist once a year, although this is generally recommended. In large-scale public opinion polls conducted in 2008 and 2013, only about 65 percent stated that they had visited the dentist at least once in the previous year.

The survey also showed that more women than men visited the dentist. In 2013, 67.2 percent of the female participants but only 62 percent of their male counterparts reported visiting the dentist annually.

With regard to ethnic variation, the investigators observed that in 2013 about 55 percent of black and Hispanic participants said that they had visited the dentist in the past year, compared with about 70 percent of white and Asian participants. According to Gallup, similar results were observed in 2008. However, there was a slight decline in the black population. In 2008, the percentage of black participants who visited the dentist in the past year was still at 58.

Participants' dental care-seeking patterns appeared to differ according to marital status too. The investigators said that in 2013 married participants (70.9 percent) visited the dentist more often than single individuals did (60.7 percent). In addition, the survey showed that those who were separated visited the dentist the least often. The rates dropped the most among this group: from 52.4 percent in 2008 to 46.6 percent in 2013.

Data for the survey was obtained through telephone interviews with 178,072 U.S. adults conducted during 2013 and with 354,645 adults conducted during 2008 as part of the Gallup–Healthways Well-Being Index, a research project to track and understand the key factors that drive well-being commissioned by Gallup and health services provider Healthways.

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