Other than brushing and flossing, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your mouth. However, your oral health is a complex system that’s vital for your overall wellness. While you might believe your teeth and gums are healthy, there are some alarming facts you may not know. Here are 6 frightening stats about oral health.
1. 91% of adults have had cavities.
Tooth decay is 100% preventable, but it’s the most prevalent chronic condition in the U.S. Researchers estimate that 27% of adults have untreated cavities. Solid oral hygiene habits at home, a healthy diet, and regular care from a dentist can safeguard your smile from cavities.
2. 18% of children have untreated cavities.
Cavities in children are more common than childhood asthma. 21% of children between the ages of 2 and 5 and 51% of children 6 to 11 years old have had cavities. Early dental care can significantly lower the risk. Besides a cleaning and checkup, dental sealants and fluoride varnish can protect young smiles from decay.
3. 120 million adults are missing at least 1 tooth.
Every tooth is invaluable to a healthy, functional smile, but 10% of Americans between the ages of 50 to 64 have no remaining teeth. An incomplete smile is more than an aesthetic issue. It’s best to have any lost teeth replaced as soon as possible.
4. 50% of adults have gum disease.
Tooth decay isn’t the only cause of missing teeth. Gum disease is also a leading culprit. Although it’s preventable, 50% of adults have the infection, which can wreak havoc on oral and general health. Daily flossing is the most effective method to keep the infection at bay.
5. 1 in 6 Americans has a dental emergency annually.
While you may never expect one to happen to you, dental emergencies are common. 2.2 million people visit hospitals each year for dental pain. Whether an infection, knocked-out tooth, or fracture, most dental emergencies are preventable with regular care from a dentist.
6. 39% of adults haven’t seen a dentist in the past year.
Besides brushing and flossing, the American Dental Association recommends a cleaning and checkup twice per year; however, the cost is a leading reason adults skip routine appointments. Despite the intent to save money, irregular dental care increases the risk of preventable oral health issues. As a result, you’re more likely to need costly treatment later. Research has found that every $1 spent on prevention can save up to $50 on restorative and emergency services.
Although these facts are unsettling, you don’t have to become a statistic if you commit to your oral health. Brush at least twice daily, floss nightly, and limit your sugar consumption. Don’t forget to schedule a cleaning and checkup every 6 months.
About Dr. Andrew M. Nawrocki
Dr. Nawrocki achieved his dental degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and regularly completes continuing education in advanced services, like prosthodontics. He focuses on prevention to help his patients reach and maintain optimal oral health. If it’s time for your next cleaning and checkup, contact our office today for an appointment.