They may be bragging a little bit, but most Americans are happy with their oral health. However, this overall assessment glosses over problems faced by significant numbers of Americans because of their teeth.
Feeling Good about Oral Health (or at Least Fair)
The assessment of oral health comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This survey, performed by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), asks a representative national sample about their health and dietary habits.
In the most recent study, conducted in 2015-2016, only 7% of Americans said their oral health was poor. Instead 49% say that their oral health is fair or good, and 43% say that their oral health is very good or excellent.
This data largely coincides with the results of a more detailed survey conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) specifically about oral health in America. In that survey, 9% of Americans said their oral health was poor, 21% said it was fair, 39% said it was good, and 31% said it was very good.
Oral Health Still Causes Problems
However, despite the generally rosy appraisal of their oral health, many Americans report oral health-related problems in their lives. In the NHANES study, 30% of Americans reported to being embarrassed about the health or appearance of their teeth and gums. That is much higher than in the ADA survey, where 23% of Americans reported feeling embarrassed by the appearance of their smile.
In addition, about 14% of Americans said in the NHANES survey that they had difficulty at work because of their oral health problems. The ADA survey doesn’t have a directly comparable category, but in that survey, 11% of Americans reported difficulty doing their usual activities, while 7% reported taking days off from work due to their oral health.
Maintain and Promote Oral Health
If you’re unhappy with your oral health for whatever reason, we can help. Dr. Mike Firouzian is a highly skilled dentist in the full range of dental treatments, including general dentistry procedures like routine checkups and cleanings or fillings. We also offer Perio Protect, an advanced treatment for gum disease.
Preventive dentistry procedures can help you maintain your good oral health. Basic prevention starts with your home hygiene, but can expand to professional teeth cleaning procedures.
But if you are already suffering oral health problems, we can use restorative dentistry to treat these problems and restore your smile to its former beauty and function. Cosmetic dentistry is not really distinct from general dentistry–it’s an extension of it. Looking beautiful is a vital function of your smile, and it’s important to restore that function as part of treatment.