A Delta Dental report found that Americans were unaware of the connection between oral health and overall health.

Delta Dental released the 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report, a nationwide analysis of consumer opinions and behaviors relating to oral health.

The report surveyed American adults and parents of children ages 12 and younger to illuminate their thoughts about their oral health, personal oral care, and dentist.

The report found that 92% of adults and 96% of parents considered oral health important to their overall health.

However, the research also uncovered that many were unaware of how oral health and overall health were connected. A significant number of those surveyed were unable to recognize the medical conditions linked to poor oral health, including strokes, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Promisingly, 9 in 10 adults were interested in learning more about oral health’s connection to overall health.

“While our survey indicates that most adults and parents across the United States understand that oral health is critically important to overall health, it appears that most don’t fully realize the ways oral health is linked to serious health issues,” said James W. Hutchison, president and chief executive officer of Delta Dental Plans Association. “Unfortunately, this lack of understanding isn’t surprising, as people often think of the mouth and body as two distinct parts.”

The report also surveyed Americans’ oral care habits. Eighty-nine percent of children and 72% of adults visited the dentist in 2021. Nearly all surveyed adults (94%) planned to visit the dentist in 2022.

This year, fewer parents reported that their children experienced oral health issues than in previous years’ surveys. It could correlate to the finding that significantly more children visited their dentist for preventive reasons in 2021 (92%) than the year before (81% in 2020).

“One way we continue to partner with the public on their journey to better health is by maintaining our commitment to elevate their awareness of the essential role of oral health,” said Hutchison.

The 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is based upon Delta Dental-commissioned research conducted between January 19 and January 28, 2022, by Material, a global insights and strategy consultancy, using an email invitation and online surveys to two audiences recruited through an opt-in panel. The report surveyed 1,172 parents and 1,027 adults over the age of 18.

The 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is available online.

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