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New Delta Dental report finds many are unaware of connection between poor oral health and serious medical conditions (but 9 in 10 want to learn more)

OAK BROOK, Ill. — May 5, 2022 — Today, Delta Dental released the 2022 State of America's Oral Health and Wellness Report, a nationwide analysis of consumer opinions and behaviors relating to oral health. Findings from the Delta Dental-commissioned research of U.S. adults and parents of children ages 12 and younger illuminate what they thought about their oral health and what they did to properly care for it at home and with their dentist during 2021. A few highlights from this year’s report include:

Public interest prevails in getting smarter about oral health’s link to better health

  • Nearly all U.S. adults (92%) and parents (96%) indicate that they consider oral health to be very, if not extremely, important to overall health. 
  • However, the research finds that many are unaware of how oral health and overall health are connected, as a significant number of people were unable to recognize the medical conditions that are linked to poor oral health, including strokes (38%), high blood pressure (37%) and diabetes (36%). 
  • The promising news is 9 in 10 (90%) adults are interested in learning about oral health’s critical connection to overall health.
Visits to dentist on the rise
  • Most children (89%) and adults (72%) went to the dentist last year.
  • This year, significantly fewer parents report that their children are experiencing or have experienced oral health issues compared to surveys from the previous two years, which could correlate to the finding that significantly more children visited their dentist for preventive reasons in 2021 (92%) than the year before (81% in 2020).
  • Nearly all (94%) adults plan to visit the dentist this year.

“While our survey indicates that most adults and parents across the United States understand that oral health is critically important to overall health, it appears that most don’t fully realize the ways oral health is linked to serious health issues. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding isn’t surprising, as people often think of the mouth and body as two distinct parts,” said James W. Hutchison, President & CEO, Delta Dental Plans Association. “One way we continue to partner with the public on their journey to better health is by maintaining our commitment to elevate their awareness of the essential role of oral health.”

To read the full 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report and learn more about the report’s methodology and findings, click here.

 

About the research

The 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is based upon Delta Dental-commissioned research conducted between January 19 and January 28, 2022, by Material, a global insights and strategy consultancy, using an email invitation and online surveys to two audiences recruited through an opt-in panel:

  • 1,172 parents of children ages 12 and younger.
  • 1,027 nationally representative Americans ages 18+.

Quotas were set to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population of adults and parents with children ages 12 and younger. The report has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

 

Follow us on Twitter @DeltaDental and Facebook: Delta Dental Plans Association

 

About Delta Dental Plans Association

Based in Oak Brook, Illinois, Delta Dental Plans Association is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies. Through these companies, Delta Dental is the nation's largest dental insurance provider, covering more than 83 million Americans and offering the country's largest dental network with approximately 154,000 participating dentists. Over the last decade, Delta Dental companies provided over $1.75 billion in direct and in-kind support to improve the oral health of our communities across the country. Visit deltadental.com for information on individual dental insurance plans and group dental insurance plans.