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The State of the Tooth: Chicago-Area Residents Talk Dental
Date:2/23/2009

More than 300 Surveyed on Dental Habits

30,000+ Dentists Converge in Chicago February 27-March 1

CHICAGO, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Chicago Dental Society (CDS) recently polled more than 300 Chicago-area residents to find out how the economy is affecting their choices about dental care and learn more about their dental health.

As we countdown to CDS's annual Midwinter Meeting, one of the largest displays of dental products in North America, here are some of the topline findings from the survey.

On the economy's impact on their personal dental care:

  • One out of five Chicago-metro residents (22 percent) surveyed say someone in their family has dental needs now but are putting off treatment because they can't afford it.
  • 15 percent of those responding said either they or someone in their household have a dental problem and are getting treatment from a dentist.

When asked to rank how healthy they thought their teeth and gums were:

  • 27 percent gave themselves an A, noting no dental problems.
  • 48 percent said there was room for improvement, noting a few issues they need to take care of.
  • 20 percent said they have several issues that need treatment.
  • 5 percent said they were currently in pain from their teeth and gums.

How often do they brush and floss?

  • 21 percent floss their teeth at least every day.
  • 30 percent floss their teeth seldom or never.
  • 58 percent brush their teeth at least twice daily.
  • 36 percent brush once daily.
  • 7 percent brush less than daily.

On the relationship between their diet and oral health:

  • 62 percent say they drink water instead of soda sometimes or frequently due to concern for their oral health.
  • 17 percent said they don't think about soda with regard to their teeth.
  • 22 percent said they don't consider the relationship between diet and oral health.

How often do they go to the dentist?

  • 10 percent said they never visit the dentist.
  • 62 percent said they visit at least once a year.

On insurance coverage:

  • 47 percent of respondents do not have dental insurance.
    • Unsurprisingly, people who do not have dental insurance were more likely to put off seeing a dentist in 2009 and are also more likely to have concerns with their dental health.
      • Perhaps surprisingly, though, is that patients with insurance are not only more likely to visit the dentist, but they are also more likely to take care of their teeth, through activities like brushing and flossing.
      • 7 percent sought dental care from a low-cost clinic, government agency or charity in 2008.

When asked what they planned to do about dental care in 2009:

  • 73 percent said they would visit a dentist for regular preventative care.
  • 17 percent said they would see a dentist only if they have a problem.
  • 12 percent said they will not see a dentist.

Any cosmetic dentistry procedures?

  • Interestingly, 14 percent of respondents said they plan to undergo a cosmetic dental procedure in 2009, which is nearly the same percentage (12) that said they underwent a cosmetic procedure in 2008.
  • On the other hand, in the Chicago Dental Society's survey of dentists last fall, more than half said patients were delaying or cancelling plans for cosmetic procedures.

Why: Data was collected for the Chicago Dental Society's 144th annual Midwinter Meeting, which begins at McCormick Place in Chicago on February 26, 2009. The exhibit floor opens on February 27.


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SOURCE Chicago Dental Society
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