Illinoisans remain focused on health as new year arrives

Delta Dental of Illinois survey shows increased awareness of oral and overall health during COVID-19 pandemic.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Dec. 28, 2021) — A new year often inspires people to reprioritize their health and well-being. But New Year’s resolutions won’t be the only reason people may be focused on their health. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has played a large role in keeping overall health at the forefront of people’s minds.

More than 3 in 4 Illinois residents (77%) say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more aware of their overall health, according to a recent survey by Delta Dental of Illinois.1

“During the pandemic, we’ve all been focused on how to avoid getting sick,” said Dr. Sheila Strock, vice president of dental services and chief science officer at Delta Dental of Illinois. “The start of a new year is a great time to take this focus and use it to make a positive change in our lives. That includes continuing preventive steps to better take care of our oral and overall health.”

Oral health key to overall health

The Delta Dental of Illinois survey showed that almost all Illinois adults (95%) agree that oral health is very important to overall health.

Yet, about 3 in 10 said they didn’t realize there is a connection between their oral health and conditions such as dementia, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and respiratory issues.

Visiting your dentist and physician for regular preventive checkups can identify issues with your health before they worsen. During a routine exam of your mouth and jaw, your dentist can potentially detect early warning signs of more than 120 diseases.2

“Taking care of your teeth and gums can play a significant role in ensuring the health of your whole body,” Strock said.

Making oral health a priority

More than 7 in 10 Illinoisans (72%) said they are paying closer attention to their oral health care habits at home as a result of COVID-19, according to the Delta Dental of Illinois survey.

Good home oral health habits include brushing twice a day for two full minutes each time and flossing daily.

A strong oral health regimen also includes routine dental checkups. While some Illinoisans said they weren’t comfortable visiting the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority (92%) had planned to visit the dentist in 2021.

Regular dental checkups are important for both adults and children. As noted, they can help detect issues early, prevent problems from getting worse and avoid the need for more costly and complex treatments.

“If you haven’t scheduled your next dental appointment, the fresh start of a new year is the perfect reminder to do so,” Strock said. “Going to the dentist is safe. Dentists have always taken precautions to reduce the spread of infection, and they’ve taken additional steps during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect your health.”

Dental coverage provides added benefits

Having dental benefits can help with access to preventive care as most plans cover 100% of routine checkups and cleanings.

Dental coverage goes beyond oral health benefits, though. Not only can it help prevent or identify health issues, but there are also many emotional benefits.

Ninety percent of Illinoisans with dental coverage reported having peace of mind, relief from worrying about dental emergencies and the opportunity to lead a healthier life due to their dental coverage.

If you do not currently have dental coverage or are looking for an alternative, an individual dental plan can provide coverage for routine preventive visits, as well as other dental care needs. To learn more about individual dental coverage, visit

In addition, people with diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions may benefit from extra preventive care. Some dental plans provide additional cleanings for those with specific health conditions. Learn about the Delta Dental of Illinois Enhanced Benefits Program at


About Delta Dental of Illinois

Delta Dental is the national dental benefits leader covering 1 in 3 Americans who have dental coverage. Delta Dental of Illinois is one of 39 member companies that make up the national Delta Dental system. Based in Naperville, Illinois, Delta Dental of Illinois provides dental benefit programs to more than 6,000 Illinois companies and covers 2 million individuals, employees and family members nationwide. Delta Dental of Illinois is committed to improving oral health in our community and furthers this commitment through the work of Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation.

12021 Delta Dental of Illinois Adult’s Oral Health & Well-Being Survey, online survey of 316 Illinois adults ages 18+ by Kelton Global, margin of error +/- 6%.

2Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General,