Dental Tribune America

One in 3 US adults delay dental care owing to uncertain economy

By Dental Tribune International
May 06, 2013

SYRACUSE, N.Y., USA: A survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults has revealed that 36 percent have delayed or would delay dental treatments owing to their current financial situation. Although more than 80 percent knew about the long-term financial implications of neglecting oral health, many people seemed to put dental care off until they experienced significant pain or had a dental emergency, the investigators said.

The survey involved 501 men and 504 women aged 18 and older. It was conducted as a telephone survey by market research agency ORC International on behalf of Aspen Dental, one of the largest networks of dental care providers in the U.S., between Feb. 28 and March 3.

Overall, the results were in line with other studies that found a general decline in health care spending. More than 30 percent of the people surveyed reported that their net salary was lower this year than in 2012. Moreover, 44 percent had no dental insurance. The number was especially high among those with an annual income below $35,000 (61 percent), the investigators said. They also found that only 1 in 10 agreed that routine dental visits were critical to their overall well-being.

"Since the recession began five years ago, the patients who walk through my doors have been increasingly stressed out about whether they can afford the care they need," said Dr. Nathan Laughrey, who runs a number of Aspen Dental practices. "The survey is a stark reminder of the need to improve public understanding about the importance of dental care to overall health, as well as create a better understanding about the long-term effects of ignoring dental visits, including the link between gum disease and other serious conditions such as diabetes and stroke," the dentist added.

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