Sunday, April 7, 2013

Decreasing Dental Visits = Decreasing Income?

I came across some interesting long term trends in the latest issue of the ADA News.  The data is derived from the ADA's Health Policy Resource Center.

The number of dentist visits is declining, especially for adults.  This seems to be a slow, long term trend, even with an increasing and aging population.  Yes, the decrease was aggravated by the recent recession, but the data suggest there are factors in place even before that.  Children's visits were more stable and seem to have recovered closer to pre-recession levels.  Over the ten year period, visits by children with very low income families (likely on Medicaid which covers dentist visits) rose from 26% to 36% perhaps dampening the effect of children's visits.

Notice that general dentist income (who primarily see adults) and dental visits trends seem to follow each other fairly closely.

"Fewer Adults Visiting the Dentist," ADA News, Volume 44, No. 6, March 18, 2013.