Americans prioritized their oral health as part of maintaining their overall health during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Delta Dental Plans Association 2020 State of America’s Oral Health Report.
The nationwide analysis of consumer opinions and behaviors relating to oral health was based on findings from two surveys of more than 2,000 American adults and parents of children age 12 and under. According to the report:
- Most adults prioritized oral healthcare in 2020, with 74% visiting a dentist, despite widespread challenges driven by the pandemic.
- 90% of American adults believe that maintaining their oral health has been essential to protecting their overall health throughout the pandemic.
- 94% of parents believe that maintaining their children’s oral health has been essential to protecting their children’s overall health throughout the pandemic.
- Only approximately one in two Americans agree that oral health is closely linked to several medical conditions including strokes and high blood pressure.
“Amid the challenges presented by the pandemic, Americans embraced oral health in 2020,” said James W. Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Delta Dental Plans Association.
“As the research shows, the vast majority of people understand that oral health is critically important to overall health, but we still have a great opportunity to educate the public about the connection,” Hutchinson said.
“The more Americans know about the impact of oral health on overall health, the more likely they are to approach their health holistically and continue the strong oral health habits that many adopted during the pandemic,” he said.
“The insights from this report will act as a catalyst to ensure that the broader healthcare conversation includes oral health, which is a vital part of physical, mental, and emotional well-being,” he continued.
“We are in a new era of healthcare, and as American society reexamines its healthcare practices in the wake of the pandemic, the oral health community must redouble its efforts to demonstrate the importance of oral health, partner with communities, and expand access to care,” he concluded.
As showcased by the findings, Delta Dental said, Americans increasingly recognize the value of good oral health and are taking action to achieve it. Nearly all survey respondents plan to prioritize oral health either by visiting the dentist, securing dental insurance if they are uninsured, or paying closer attention to their oral care habits in 2021, the company said.
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