Though the ADA recommends that adults and children alike visit a dentist twice a year to maintain good oral health, one out five Texans admit that they haven’t seen a dentist in five years or more, according to a survey by Guardian. Also, only 57% have seen a dentist in the past year, with only 39% of them having done so in the past six months.
“The research is there. Regular dental visits can help detect serious medical conditions and help avoid dental diseases like periodontal disease and tooth decay,” said Randi Tillman, DMD, MBA, chief dental officer at Guardian. “What’s disconcerting is that Texans, across Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, are putting off going to the dentist, which can lead to more severe oral health issues in the long run and impact their overall health and well-being.”
The survey shows that Texans who did put off dental visits lost a tooth, required an extraction, or paid a bigger dental bill due to a more expensive procedure. When asked why they delayed a procedure, more than half cited cost as the main factor. But when Texans were asked what causes more financial stress, unexpected dental procedures or paying taxes, 64% said paying for an unexpected dental procedure would be more stressful.
And while two in 10 Texans gave their oral health an “A,” nearly half gave themselves a “C” or below. Also, parents who maintain better oral health are more likely to rate their children’s oral habits higher. For example, parents who give themselves an A or B are significantly more likely to take their own oral health seriously, helping influence their children’s oral habits versus parents who give themselves a C through F (59% for A-B versus 28% for C-F).
With these findings in mind, Guardian has partnered with the Children’s Health Fund to form the Guardians of the Smile program to provide necessary dental resources and academic programming to teach students about proper lifelong oral hygiene habits. The program will make its first stop in Dallas this month, accompanied by the Tooth Guardian, a superhero who teaches kids how to care for their teeth in a fun and interactive way.
“A Children’s Health Fund report issued in 2017 called attention to the fact that poor oral hygiene negatively impacts a child’s attendance and school performance,” said Dennis Walto, CEO of the Children’s Health Fund. “We all have to do more to ensure that kids and their parents get the information they need to make healthy choices.”