U.S. adults don't know conditions linked to oral health

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com associate editor

May 9, 2022 -- Though most adults in the U.S. consider oral health to be important to overall health, too many don't know which conditions are linked to poor oral health, according to a report published May 5 by Delta Dental Plans Association.

Also, adults' awareness of the systemic conditions that are associated with poor oral health has worsened, according to the dental insurance provider's "2022 State of America's Oral Health and Wellness Report."

"Even with the knowledge that one cannot have good overall health without good oral health, we often think of the mouth and body as two distinct parts," James Hutchison, Delta's president and CEO, said in the report.

To better understand consumers' oral health behaviors, 1,172 parents with children ages 12 and under and 1,027 adults were asked to participate in an online survey in January 2022. Of the participants, 92% of adults and 96% of parents reported that oral health was very or extremely important to overall health, according to the report. However, many are unaware of how oral health and overall health are linked, and their awareness of these types of connections isn't improving.

In 2022, 36% of participants did not know there was a link between oral health and diabetes. In 2021, only 30% were unaware of this link. Also, in 2022, 38% of participants were unaware of the connection between strokes and poor oral health. In 2021, only 31% did not know the conditions were linked. In addition, in 2022, 37% were unaware of the link between high blood pressure and oral health, while it was 31% in the prior year, according to the results.

On the upside, 9 out of 10 adults reported wanting to know more about the oral-systemic link.

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