Actionable solutions

The Delta Dental Institute conducts, supports, and promotes research to help policymakers, educators, health care practitioners, businesses, and families make informed decisions about oral health. We partner with leading scientists, academic institutions, health care groups, and other organizations to explore important oral health topics and produce data-driven insights in pursuit of actionable solutions for improved oral and overall health.


Across the country, Delta Dental companies are tackling the most important issues in oral health care. Check out recent research from within the Delta Dental system.

woman dentist talking with patient 1144x978 .jpg woman dentist talking with patient 1144x978 .jpg woman dentist talking with patient 790x400 .jpg

Improving America's Oral Health Literacy

Delta Dental Institute







Expert voices



Dental care facts



Fact 1

Good oral health has a positive effect on overall health and well-being.

According to the FDI World Dental Federation, research shows having a healthy smile improves social interaction, communication, and the ability to perform well in work and school.

Fact 2

Oral disease can exacerbate other health problems.

According to the Institute of Medicine, infections that begin in the mouth can travel throughout the body. Additionally, oral disease is associated with poor health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

For example, the American Academy of Periodontology states that diabetes may increase the risk for periodontal disease and that managing periodontal disease may improve diabetes control. 

Fact 3

The current status of dental coverage in the U.S. lags behind health coverage.

While 91 percent of Americans had medical insurance at the end of 2016, only 77 percent had dental insurance.

Fact 4

People with dental insurance are more likely to get the dental care they need.

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that having dental insurance resulted in increased dental visits and reduced unmet needs for dental care.

A 2016 Delta Dental survey found that people with dental coverage are 78 percent more likely to seek preventive or restorative care.

Fact 5

Helping Americans get access to dental coverage will reduce the number of people going to the emergency room for dental problems and consequently reduce medical costs.

Data shows untreated, often preventable, oral diseases send more than 2.1 million Americans to the emergency room each year.

A Health Policy Institute study found that moving people out of the emergency room and into the dentist’s office would improve Americans’ overall health while saving $1.7 billion a year.