Thursday, May 10, 2007

Avoiding the Dentist

Working-age Americans are going to the dentist less frequently. The percentage of people aged 20 to 64 who have been to a dentist in the past year fell from 66 percent in 1988-94 to a smaller 60 percent in 1999-04, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

What explains the decline in dental care? One factor is the increasingly exhorbitant cost of a dental visit. Many Americans do not have dental insurance. Those with insurance are often dismayed to discover that it pays only pittance, leaving dental patients footing most of the bill out-of-pocket.

Perhaps because they are less likely to see a dentist, the percentage of adults who say their teeth are in excellent or very good condition fell from 30 to 26 percent during the years of the study.

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