Oral Health Spotlight

June is National Smile Month

Surveys show Illinoisans recognize the power of smiles

Illinois residents agree that good oral health habits have a tie to confidence, happiness and success – and those with dental benefits seem to have the best oral health. June is National Smile Month, and new Delta Dental of Illinois surveys find more reasons to strive for healthy smiles.

Children should visit the dentist by age 1 or within six months after the first tooth comes in, but only 15 percent of Illinois parents took their children to the dentist by their first birthday. Establishing good oral health habits at an early age, such as visiting the dentist, helps ensure a healthy smile for a lifetime.

The Delta Dental of Illinois Adult Oral health & Well-Being Survey showed that Illinois adults with dental benefits are more likely than those without (29 percent vs. 9 percent) to rate their oral health with an A-grade. In addition, Illinoisans with dental benefits are more likely than those without (34 percent vs. 22 percent) to describe themselves as successful, and insured Illinoisans are more likely than those who are uninsured (86 percent vs. 72 percent) to state their well-being will improve this year.

In the past year, 35 percent of Illinois adults visited the dentist less than once. Delta Dental of Illinois recommends that adults visit the dentist at least once a year or more frequently, if needed. Visiting the dentist regularly promotes good oral health as well as good overall health. The dentist can detect over 120 health conditions that have symptoms that affect the mouth, such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition, Delta Dental of Illinois’ survey shows that people who visit the dentist regularly are more likely to rate their oral health and overall well-being better than individuals who do not visit the dentist on a regular basis.

The results of Delta Dental of Illinois’ surveys highlight some of the oral health habits Illinoisans can improve upon.

Brush up: Illinois adults and children are lacking on the basic oral health habit of brushing. Teeth should be brushed for two minutes twice a day. Yet, more than a third (36 percent) of Illinois parents say their child’s teeth are brushed less than twice a day. More than one third (34 percent) of Illinois adults don’t brush their teeth the recommended two times each day, and nearly two in three (65 percent) skip a brushing at least once per month.

Floss regularly:  Flossing once a day is important to remove plaque buildup in between teeth that can’t be reached by brushing. Although important to help prevent cavities, nearly three out of four (74 percent) Illinois parents say their children’s teeth are flossed less than once a day.

 

For more tips on taking care of your smile, visit Delta Dental of Illinois’ oral health resource at YourOralHealthHub.com.

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