Why Adults Skip the Dentist (And Why You Shouldn’t Follow Suit)

dental care

Most of us know that high-quality dental care is key to overall health. But too often, adults make the decision to skip their annual trip to the dental office. In fact, the CDC estimated that only 64.9% of adults visited their dentist during 2019, while around 31.6% of adults have untreated cavities.

Ultimately, that means that there’s a large portion of adults who need professional dental care and aren’t getting it. But why exactly do adults choose to forgo their dental visits? And why should you make sure to schedule (and keep) your appointments on a regular basis? We’re answering both of those questions in today’s post.

Why Adults Don’t Visit the Dentist

  • Cost: The cost of dental care can be daunting, particularly if you’ll be paying for services out-of-pocket. It may seem like an expenditure you simply can’t afford, which makes it tempting to push off appointments from year to year. There are a number of offices that accept dental insurance plans, but that’s not true of every dentist — so it’s important that you do your research beforehand. Regardless of whether your dentist accepts your insurance, you may need to budget for your visit or ask about a potential payment plan to make these services more accessible to you. Keep in mind, however, that prioritizing preventative dental care now can keep costs lower for you in the long term. Since we know that poor dental care has been linked to a number of serious medical conditions, you owe it to yourself to make room in your budget for these visits.
  • Scheduling: There never seem to be enough hours in the day. While children may not have as many routine commitments to contend with, most adults work or have other responsibilities that take precedent over dental visits. Unless there’s a true dental emergency, you might be inclined to dismiss annual or bi-annual visits as something you don’t have time for. But there are ways to make these visits work in your schedule. You could talk to your dentist about options like evening, early morning, or weekend appointments to fit these visits into your schedule. You might even be able to take a long lunch or take a half-day for the sake of an annual cleaning. More than likely, your dentist (or your boss!) will be accommodating if it allows you to take care of your health.
  • Misconceptions and Phobias: Another reason adults might avoid the dentist could involve certain misguided beliefs. Some patients might feel that they can handle caring for their teeth completely on their own. After all, when fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses are used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, these products can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%. However, there’s really no replacement for professional tooth care. Cleanings and other assessments performed by your dentist can help catch problems early and prevent issues attributed to plaque and tartar. In addition, dental phobias can discourage adults from visiting the dentist. While these fears are relatively common, they often worsen when they’re avoided. You may want to consider an office that provides sedation dentistry or finding a dentist that can help you alleviate your fears in order to put your health first.

Why You Should Prioritize Dental Visits

We’ve discussed the most common reasons for avoiding the dentist. But the most important reason to see your dentist is to protect your health. By seeing your dentist regularly, you can increase your self-esteem, eliminate discomfort or pain, and ensure you stay in great shape for years to come. For more information, please contact our office today.