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Inflation the top reason for skipped dental appointments—including among dental professionals

Dec. 8, 2022
Almost half of US adults surveyed, including dental and health-care workers, have delayed or canceled a dental cleaning due to inflation. Learn more.

Inflation hits all corners of life, and health care is no exception—even among those who consider it a priority.

Findings shared from a recent survey indicate that while 95% of adults agree that oral health is essential to overall health, almost half of adults surveyed—including dental workers themselves—said they delayed routine care due to inflation and rising costs.

The survey from Delta Dental Institute was administered in October 2022 among some 1,321 US adults, including seniors (ages 65 and older), human resource professionals, and health-care workers. Results indicated that:

  • Almost half of adult American—including 42% of dental and health-care workers—have delayed or canceled a dental cleaning in the past two years, with concerns about inflation and rising prices, rather than about COVID-19, prompting the delay.
  • Adults in lower income brackets were much more likely to delay oral health care than their higher-earning counterparts.
  • The top reason to delay care for all adults is inflation and rising prices, regardless of income.

Other key findings include strong bipartisan support for Medicare and Medicaid to provide dental coverage, with 93% of Democrats and 80% of Republicans supporting dental coverage in Medicare, and 86% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans supporting state-based Medicaid coverage for oral health. About 85% of adults overall, and especially older adults, indicated wanting Medicare to include dental care. Almost two-thirds of seniors also said they’d be more likely to visit the dentist regularly if Medicare covered dental care. Seventy-six percent of adults — including a majority of HR professionals surveyed — said Medicaid should require states to include dental care.

Primarily sourced from Delta Dental Institute's press release: US adults cite inflation among top concerns for delaying or canceling dental cleanings since 2021
(Content edited for style and length)