Survey: Many Americans still delaying dental care

By staff writers

May 3, 2013 -- More than 1 in 3 American adults (36%) has delayed or will delay dental care due to the uncertain U.S. economy and their lingering fears about their current financial situation, according to survey results released by Aspen Dental.

In addition, they are making the decision to delay care despite understanding the long-term implications: More than 80% of the survey respondents indicated that they knew that doing so would cost them more in the long run.

The telephone survey was conducted from February 28 to March 3, 2013, by ORC International and commissioned by Aspen. ORC interviewed 1,005 adults, 501 men and 504 women, who were 18 years of age and older living in the continental U.S.

Other key survey findings hint at why dental care may be out of reach, Aspen noted in a press release: Approximately 1 in 3 respondents indicated that their take-home pay would be lower this year than in 2012, and 44% said they do not currently have dental insurance, an issue that is even more significant among those with an annual income less than $35,000 (61%).

The survey also revealed a disconnect about the impact of oral health on overall health: Only 1 in 10 agreed that routine dental visits for regular examinations and cleanings are "critical" to their overall well-being. Even in an emergency situation, only 57% felt that going to the dentist to assess the situation was critical.

The survey results are consistent with recent research showing a decline in healthcare spending, Aspen noted. According to an April 2013 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the slowdown in healthcare spending has been driven by the broader economic downturn.

Copyright © 2013

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