Interesting Statistics to Put Your Oral Health and Dental Visits in Perspective

July 14, 2021

oral health

You know that you should visit Dr. Dhiraj Sharma twice a year for dental cleanings and checkups. You also hopefully know that you should brush your teeth twice every day and floss daily. Learning about other interesting dental statistics can help you put your dental visits and oral health in perspective. The following statistics focus on oral health in the United States with a few international facts thrown in.

How Many People Have Dental Health Problems

About 26% of adults within the country have untreated tooth decay. This is more than a quarter of American adults.

Around 13.2% of kids between ages 5 and 19 have untreated tooth decay.

Looking at adults who are at least 30 years old, 46% of them have at least some symptoms of gum disease. 9% of adults suffer from severe gum disease.

Oral cancer is more common in adults who are at least 55 years old. Heavy drinkers also have a higher risk.

Tooth Loss

When you compare historical data for adults who are 65 to 74 years old, you will notice that complete tooth loss has dropped over time.  

Around the World

Globally, oral diseases likely affect almost 3.5 billion people.

The Global Burden of Disease 2017 found that the most common of all health issues globally is untreated tooth decay that affects permanent teeth.

Nearly 10% of people globally have severe periodontal disease.

Over 350 million children have tooth decay in their milk or primary teeth.

About 20% of people will have oro-dental trauma to their oral cavity, mouth, and/or teeth at some point in their life.

Clefts on the palate or lip affect more than one out of every 1,000 newborns around the world. There is a higher rate of neonatal mortality in low-income areas, but treatment is possible.

In certain countries in the Pacific and Asia, oral cancer is among the top three most common types of cancer. Globally, there are about 300,000 to 700,000 new cases of oral cancer each year, and it is among the top 10 most common types of cancer.

While areca nut, alcohol, and tobacco are the most common causes of oral cancer around the world, in Europe and North America, the human papillomavirus is linked to a growing number of cases.

Of people who have HIV, about 30-80% see oral symptoms, such as viral, fungal, or bacterial infections.

Noma is a severe mouth and face disease that is gangrenous and mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. It affects children ages 2 to 6 the most. As of 1998, the world saw 140,000 new cases a year, with a 90% fatality rate.

Cost and Availability of Treatment

In the United States, 64% of adults who are at least 18 years old had a dental visit within the last year.

85.9% of children between ages 2 and 17 had a dental visit in the last year.

Of adults with private health insurance, 50.2% of adults had coverage for dental care. The amount of adults with dental coverage varies by region. It can be as low as 45.6% in the South Atlantic and East South Central regions and as high as 57.1% in New England.

Not everyone with dental coverage saw a dentist in the past year. Only 22.1% of adults nationally did. This figure is as low as 14.3% in New England and as high as 29.4% in West South Central United States.

The area of the country with the lowest number of adults who do not take care of their dental needs because of the cost is the West North Central region with just 2.8%. The highest percentage is in the Mountain region with 7.0%.

Income and Dental Health

20% of low-income adults indicate that their teeth and mouth are in bad condition. 38% of young adults and 39% of low-income adults indicate that this affects their quality of life.

29% of low-income adults say that the way that their mouth or teeth appear affects how easy it is to interview for a job.

One-quarter (25%) of adults say they avoid smiling because their teeth and mouth are in bad condition. 23% say they are embarrassed by the condition of their teeth and mouth. For low-income adults, these figures increase to 37% and 35%, respectively. 23% of low-income adults also report participating less in social activities because of their mouth’s condition.

For young adults, 33% avoid smiling because of their oral health, 33% are embarrassed by it, and 22% don’t socialize as much because of it.

20% of adults have anxiety related to their oral health condition.

Among low-income adults, pain is the most commonly reported condition. 42% of these low-income adults have problems chewing and biting.

Around the World

Looking at countries with high incomes, most people spend 5% of their total health expenses on dental treatment. This percentage rises to 20% for out-of-pocket health costs.

Few countries with low to middle incomes provide preventative dental services and treatment. Specifically, 35% of adults in low-income countries can access primary oral health services. This increases to 60% in lower-middle-income countries and 75% in upper-middle-income countries. By contrast, it is 82% in high-income countries.

Dental Sealants in Kids

When you look at children who had dental sealants placed two years ago, the sealants effectively prevent more than 80% of cavities that occur in their permanent molars.

School-based sealant programs deliver cost savings after just two years, and in over four years, they save $11.70 for every tooth that gets sealed.

Despite that, about 60% of kids from low-income families don’t have dental sealants. Low-income kids are 20% less likely to have dental sealants than those from high-income families.

In the past decade, the number of low-income kids with dental sealant has increased by 72%.

Opinions on Dental Health

97% of adults in the United States value oral health. 95% agree that regularly visiting the dentist will keep them healthy, and 85% feel they should visit the dentist every six months.

82% of adults think that straight and bright teeth provide an advantage in life.

The above figures show that having access to dentists like Dr. Dhiraj Sharma is a privilege, and taking advantage of it can give you benefits in life in addition to improving your oral health. For affordable dental services in West River, Chicago, contact us today!


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