Big Divide in America's Oral Health

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An online survey of over 2000 American adults was recently conducted by Harris Poll for Oral Health America. The survey revealed a large divide in America when it comes to oral health.

Household income marks the divide.

The survey found that households with an income below $50,000 per year are more likely than individuals in higher income households to delay or even skip visits to the dentist. A majority of those surveyed – 74% – cited lack of dental insurance or other financial reasons for neglecting dental healthcare.

The vast majority of Americans practice at least one dental health habit, daily tooth brushing. As with delaying dental healthcare, many lower-income Americans – ranging from children to adults – are also less likely to practice daily oral hygiene habits such as flossing, brushing, and eating healthy foods. This lower income group also smokes more, which, of course, is bad for general as well as oral health.

To help educate all Americans about oral health, Oral Health America operates the Fall for Smiles campaign. This campaign aims to educate the public about proper oral care, which starts with good hygiene habits at home and includes regularly scheduled visits to the dentist. In addition, Oral Health America met with Congress members to bring policies supporting oral health to the forefront.