A recent article in USA Today reports that a whopping 30 percent of Americans “haven’t been to the dentist since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.”
This seems like a disturbing development until we realize that it’s not a development at all; instead, this is actually a long-time trend.
Just over a year ago, on July 19, 2021, United Press International reported on a government survey’s finding that “Millions of American adults haven't seen a dentist in at least a year.” While this stat would seem to be COVID-related, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The same article noted that even “before the coronavirus pandemic made dental visits difficult, a third of adults under 65 hadn't had a dental exam or cleaning in the past 12 months.” That was from a 2019 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And we could look back even further. In 2014, a Gallup poll found that “About one in three U.S. adults say they did not visit the dentist at some point in the past 12 months.” And, according to Gallup, these numbers were “essentially unchanged from the rate found in 2008.”
Long story short: with or without a global pandemic, only about two-thirds of adults go to the dentist on a regular basis. And that’s a problem because, as we explain in a December, 2017 blog post, “there’s a strong link between an individual’s oral health and his or her medical health.” Poor dental health can put people at increased risk for a wide range of medical conditions, including:
- Heart Disease
- Pregnancy Complications
- Kidney Disease
- Mental Health Problems
- Alzheimer’s Disease
For that reason, it’s very important that people visit the dentist regularly, both for cleanings and to take care of any issues they might have before they get worse.
So why is this important to brokers? Because a new survey from invisible aligners company Byte.com, the same survey referenced in the USA Today article, cites cost as a major factor in people’s decision not to go to the dentist. As reported by Business Insurance Magazine, the survey found that some people simply don’t want to go to the dentist, and some worry about needing a procedure, but 59 percent of people who delay visits to the dentist feel that “dental care is too expensive” while 34 percent say “not having dental insurance has kept them away.”
Brokers, obviously, are in a unique position to help solve this problem. And, as luck would have it, AHCP partners with a number of different dental carriers. If you’re not currently offering dental insurance to your clients, consider getting appointed with some of our dental partners in your state. You may also want to review this NCD Dental & Vision product training video. If you have any questions about how AHCP can help you help your clients with dental coverage, please let us know.