New Delta Dental report: 9 in 10 adults believe their dental visit is as important as an annual physical

CHICAGO — May 2, 2024 — Delta Dental released its 2024 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report, a nationwide analysis of consumer opinions and behaviors relating to oral health.

The report reveals a strong consumer understanding of oral health’s vital role in overall wellness, with an overwhelming majority of adults (91%) believing that their dental visit is as important as an annual physical.

Further, the report finds a greater awareness among adults of oral health’s connection to specific health conditions and diseases such as respiratory illness and diabetes. Younger generations, specifically Gen Z and Millennials, are most likely to appreciate this linkage.

“The findings from this year’s report underscore adults’ understanding of oral health’s relationship to whole person wellness, including its impact on physical, mental, and financial health,” said James W. Hutchison, President & CEO, Delta Dental Plans Association. “Delta Dental remains dedicated to continued collaboration across the health care industry to develop solutions that advance oral health and wellness.”

Delta Dental commissioned the research of 2,000 U.S. adults and parents of children 12 and under. Below are additional key findings from the 2024 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report:

Good oral hygiene can support mental health

  • More than 9 in 10 (92%) adults believe taking action to protect their oral health allows them to be more confident.
  • Over 3 in 4 adults (77%) say oral health is closely connected to mental well-being.

A rise in preventive oral health care pays off

  • More than 8 in 10 adults (83%) who made a trip to the dentist in 2023 did so for preventive care, increasing from 78% in 2022.
  • Notably, there is a corresponding decline in unexpected dental visits among adults, decreasing from 41% in 2022 to 36% in 2023.

Teledentistry gains traction

  • Nearly half of adults would use teledentistry when seeking oral health care (47%), and over half would trust the care (54%).
  • Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to engage in teledentistry and trust the care they receive through these services.

To read the full 2024 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report and learn more about the report’s methodology and findings, click here.

About the research

Delta Dental Plans Association commissioned a third-party market research firm, Material Holdings, LLC, to undertake research that formed the basis for this report. Material conducted its research between January 3 and January 17, 2024, using an email invitation and online surveys of two audiences recruited through an opt-in panel: 

  • 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+
  • 1,000 parents of children ages 12 and under

Geographic distribution quotas were set to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population of adults and parents with children ages 12 and under. Research in this report has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

About Delta Dental Plans Association

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Delta Dental Plans Association is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies. Through these companies, Delta Dental is the nation's largest dental benefits provider and offers the country's largest dental network with approximately 152,000 participating dentists. Over the last decade, Delta Dental companies and their foundations invested over $1.9 billion to improve the oral and overall health of our communities.

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