Dental Visits a Good Habit to Start (Again)

Posted on August 5, 2014 in General oral health

While about half of Illinoisans (46 percent) visit the dentist at least twice a year, nearly a quarter of them (22 percent) have gone between three to five years without seeing the dentist.

According to the Delta Dental of Illinois Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, most Americans visit the dentist at least once a year, and those who do are 37 percent more likely to report their oral health as good or better versus those who infrequently find themselves in a dentist's chair. Still, a lot of Illinoisans take a break from routine dentist visits at some point in their lives.

About half of Illinoisans (58 percent) say they have felt fear or reluctance regarding a dental visit, according to the Delta Dental of Illinois survey. Most said they were afraid to find out what oral care they might need or they had a bad past experience. Younger Illinoisans ages 18 to 44 have felt more apprehension than those 45 years and older.

Regular dental visits are part of important preventive care. It's good to stay in – or get back into – the habit of visiting a dentist. For people with existing mouth problems, such as gum disease, or medical problems like diabetes or dry mouth, one dental visit a year may not be enough, according to Kohn. For those at higher risk of developing oral problems, three or four visits a year may be best. On the other hand, if you enjoy good oral health and have low risks, you will not need the same level of preventive treatments or exams.

One way to stay in the habit is to find a regular dentist. According to the Delta Dental of Illinois survey, nearly one in four Illinoisans (20 percent) do not have a regular dentist, while 48 percent say they've been going to the same dentist for three years or more. Americans in the Midwest and Northeast are somewhat more likely to be in a long-term relationship with their dentists than those in the South or West.

It's More Refreshing than a Relief

Despite the fear and reluctance many Illinoisans feel in going to the dentist, most (67 percent) say they feel refreshed after doing so.

More often than not, you feel good walking out of a dentist's office. Your mouth feels cleaner, and your mind feels better because you are taking care of yourself.