A new survey by Gallup shows that 33% of Americans have not been to the dentist in at least a year. This is troubling news, especially given that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends an absolute minimum of one visit every 12 months, to prevent complications and the development of potentially serious health conditions. What could happen, and why are so many Americans neglecting critical dental care?
What You Don’t Know…
Many Americans do not realize that forgoing a trip to the dentist can, in rare circumstances, ultimately kill you. “Recent studies have also found an association between poor oral hygiene with cardiovascular disease and stroke, likely due to dislodged oral bacteria entering the bloodstream,” Fox News explains. Both heart attacks and strokes, of course, may be fatal. Finding a dentist, then, ultimately affects overall health as well as the quality and duration of patients’ lives. Poor dental and oral hygiene may also contribute to long-term, non-fatal health conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis.
Americans Still Cannot Afford A Family Dentist
“Individuals who made more than $120,000 a year were twice as likely to have visited the dentist than those who earn less than $12,000 a year,” Fox News reports of Gallup’s recent survey. In other words, a considerable number of Americans are still struggling to secure inexpensive dental care. Finding a cheap dentist — and one who offers relatively reasonable dental cleanings — is more than possible. Discounted dental clinics, emergency dentists, college dental programs, and other dentists in training all offer tooth cleaning and oral care services at lower costs.
Fear of the dentist still tops the list of common phobias. Dentists’ sharp tools — coupled with notoriously painful dental procedures like root canals — scare people away. Experts recommend being upfront about your fears. Dentists will likely be more patient; they can also explain all steps of dental procedures (and the exact function of the tools and equipment involved) to help alleviate fears. For patients who need more reassurance, sedation dentistry is also available.
Too few Americans are getting the dental care they need. Phobias and dental procedure costs deter many patients away from traditional and emergency dentists. A startling number of Americans simply do not understand the important of reliable dental care, or its impact on overall health.