Fewer Americans turning to dentists for mouth pain

OHA Fall for Smiles

CHICAGO, Illinois--A public opinion survey commissioned by Oral Health America has revealed that Americans are more likely to take a pain killer for a toothache than to consult a dentist.

Of those who don't regularly see a dentist, most (73%) give financial considerations as the reason. These results confirm that many are still struggling financially in this country and oral health often suffers as a consequence.

The survey findings make the third annual Fall for Smiles campaign, launching Sept. 1, 2012, and running through the end of October 2012, important. The campaign reminds policymakers and the public of the importance of caring for their mouths, including regular dental visits, healthy food choices, and avoiding tobacco products.

Dental offices, health educators, school oral health program officials, parents, and others can find a variety of tools to promote healthy mouths, including a social media guide, coloring sheets, and campaign handbook by visiting www.oralhealthamerica.org/fallforsmiles.

“Oral Health America recognizes that many families are making difficult choices about how to spend resources during the busy back-to-school season,” said Beth Truett, president & CEO, Oral Health America.

“Fall for Smiles reminds them to prioritize oral health because the mouth is the gateway to the body, and will affect children’s ability to be free from pain, pay attention in school, and have healthy self-esteem. The goal of this campaign is to educate Americans about why a healthy mouth is important, and to ensure that all Americans, particularly those most vulnerable to disease, are able to obtain the care they need.”

Additional findings in the public opinion survey show that Americans ages 18-34 are the most likely not to receive any dental care. Households earning less than $50,000 with children are also more likely not to consult a dentist first when facing dental pain.

This shows that there is a significant need for policies and programs that support dental care to ensure that the 165 million work hours lost each year from preventable dental problems do not continue to escalate.

“The findings from the public opinion survey reinforce why Procter & Gamble is involved with Fall for Smiles,” said R. Iván Lugo, DMD, MBA, Oral Care Professional and Scientific Relations, regional manager for North America and Puerto Rico, Procter & Gamble.

“The messages that Fall for Smiles promotes are vital when Americans are making choices about how to allocate resources and stay healthy.”

For more information, visit www.oralhealthamerica.org.

To comment on this topic, go to http://community.pennwelldentalgroup.com.

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