Thursday, June 18, 2020

Dental Care Makes a Difference

Toothlessness is associated with being old, but maybe not for much longer. The percentage of people aged 65 or older who have lost all their teeth has plunged over the past two decades, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2000, a substantial 30 percent of people aged 65 or older had lost all their teeth. By 2017–18, just 13 percent were toothless. Behind the decline is more and better dental care.

Most Americans aged 18 or older see a dentist at least once a year, and nearly half see a dentist every six months. Because dental care is expensive, however, there are big differences in the frequency of dental visits by socioeconomic status such as educational attainment...

Percent with a dental visit in the past year (and past 6 months) by education
47% (27%) of those who did not graduate from high school
55% (37%) of high school graduates 
65% (48%) of those with some college/associate's degree
79% (64%) of those with a bachelor's degree 

A lack of dental care can have serious consequences. Among people aged 65 or older without a high school diploma, fully 32 percent have lost all their teeth. Among those with more education, only 10 percent are toothless. 

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