5 surprising dental stats

Preventive dental care in America is at an all-time high, but that doesn’t mean we’re doing our best at keeping mouths healthy. Discover if you also overlook these aspects of oral health.


of children younger than 3 years old have never been to the dentist.

Because baby teeth fall out, many people mistakenly believe they’re unimportant. But healthy baby teeth are critical for smiling, speaking and chewing. They also hold space in the jaw for adult teeth to grow underneath gums.

Long before permanent teeth erupt, children should visit a pediatric dentist. Children should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than a child’s first birthday, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Biannual dental checkups for young ones build a strong oral health foundation and reduce the risk of future dental problems.

Only 60%

of children playing contact sports wear mouthguards.

Among children, sports activities are responsible for 13% of overall oral trauma, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. Yet, mouthguards are severely underused. Properly fitted mouthguards can reduce or eliminate dental injuries. They protect jaws from fracture and teeth, lips, cheeks and other soft tissues from trauma. With the risk of dental injury especially high in contact sports like football, basketball, soccer and hockey, athletes young and old should wear mouthguards before they play.

3 out of 4

millennials only brush their teeth once a day.

Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes is the first line of defense against bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. Only brushing once a day gives harmful bacteria and plaque free rein to flourish.

Sticky plaque that’s not removed eventually hardens into tartar, a rough barnacle-like substance that, once formed, makes it difficult to clean teeth properly. When tartar obstructs brushing, your risk of tooth decay and other health problems increases.


of adults visit the dentist less than once a year.

While it’s critical to brush twice a day, there are some tasks that are impossible for a toothbrush. For example, tartar, the rough hard substance that develops from unremoved plaque, can only be removed with a dentist’s tools. Because tartar causes cavities and gum diseases, regular dental visits are a critical component in protecting teeth. Dentists can also prevent and detect oral health issues early so you avoid complications down the road.


of adults are concerned about not having an attractive smile as they get older.

The key to keeping your smile looking and feeling great throughout your life is vigilant preventive care. This starts at home with brushing for two minutes twice a day, flossing once a day and eating a healthy, balanced diet. And of course, visiting your dentist regularly.