Nearly nine in 10 Americans agree that it's equally important for their children to get good dental care and medical care.
That's one of the key findings from a survey of American children's oral health, conducted on behalf of Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation's leading dental benefits provider. Delta Dental commissioned the survey to gain greater knowledge about the state of children's oral health.
In a survey of 914 primary caregivers across the nation, 87 percent agree that good dental care and good medical care are equally important. In answer to a related question, four in five (79 percent) respondents say that dental benefits are extremely important. Eighty percent say their child is covered by dental benefits.
"The survey also showed that children covered by dental insurance are much more likely to have visited the dentist than uninsured children, 69 percent versus 54 percent," said Jed Jacobson, DDS, MS, MPH, chief science officer and senior V.P. at Delta Dental. "Covered children also made their first visit to the dentist at an earlier age, at a mean of 2.5 years, compared to 3 years for uninsured children. And more than 85 percent of survey respondents who have benefits for their child rate dental coverage as very important. That's consistent with previous human resources surveys that show dental insurance is one of employees' top-rated employment benefits."
"Unfortunately, some 130 million Americans don't have dental coverage," Jacobson added. "Oral care is different from medical care. While medical coverage focuses on treating diseases and illness, dental coverage concentrates on prevention, usually through low-cost check-ups and cleanings. There's a continuing need for more education to teach practices that will ensure lifelong oral health. And, since people overwhelmingly prefer the dentist and dental hygienist as their primary oral health information sources, dental benefits that encourage visits to the dentist are crucial."
The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association (www.deltadental.com) based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits programs to more than 54 million Americans in more than 89,000 employee groups throughout the country. In 2007, Delta Dental formed a partnership with the National Head Start Association to help improve the oral health of the nation's children at a critical time in their development.
Delta Dental Plans Association