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I think I'm an odd one out in saying that I actually enjoy going to the dentist twice a year. I love how my mouth feels when it's clean and even don't mind the slightly uncomfortable experience of having my teeth flossed by someone who has no concept of what pain feels like. I don't even mind the whirring of drills or the disgusting taste of the “toothpaste” they use. But according to some recent research, I might be one of fewer Americans than expected actually trekking to their dentist on a regular basis.
According to Counsel & Heal, about one-third of American adults skipped out on regular dentists visits last year. The data was compiled by interviewing 178,072 people in 2013 and 354,645 grown ups back in the good old days in 2008. They found that over the course of just five years, the numbers of people going to their dentist didn't dramatically change, and actually went down by a few percentage points. Only about 64% of those surveyed across the board went to get a tooth check up. Women and men had about the same statistics too, with just a few more women than men making dentist appointments. I found that bit of information a little surprising too, as I've always had the assumption that women take better care of themselves than men.
The study also found a difference in age and ethnicity can determine whether or not your dental maintenance is up to par. Researchers found that more Asian and white people visited the dentist than other ethnic groups, and that younger adults between the ages of 18 and 29 had a surprisingly lower turn out than older adults. I know that when I was still on my parents' dental insurance, I milked that for all it was worth. I guess a lot of young adults don't see the value in dental visits or have the luxury of insurance like I did to keep up with routine check ups. The lack of access to affordable dental care may be barring many from seeking the care they desperately need.
So what is the real underlying issue causing folks to not take care of their pearly whites? The research team thinks that people just aren't being encouraged to actually go to the dentist by their physicians or family. The health of your gums, mouth and teeth can contribute to your overall health, and scientists have even linked bad dental hygeine to heart disease and strokes. Visiting a dentist on the regular can also help prevent tooth loss and even discover illnesses like diabetes. The important takeaway from this research is to get your butt to a dentist routinely. It will make you feel good, I promise; just grip the seat tight when they turn on the drill or get out the scrapers. It's really nothing compared to the pain of losing a tooth or chronic diseases.