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Dental care habits of Americans are revealed in survey

A study reveals many people avoid smiling because they don’t like their teeth. (Photo: @cyclinsam,

Mon. 28 March 2022


New research detailing the dental habits and preferences of Americans was presented to the public as a way to help bring attention to World Oral Health Day, held on March 20. A tech company, Weave, commissioned an independent study of more than 1,100 people to learn more about their dental care hygiene habits and their preferences for interacting with their dental care providers.

The data shows that most patients prefer more “modern” dental practices — those who send both appointment reminders and payment requests via text messages. The study also reveals several darker data points illustrating the poor oral health habits of some respondents, based on laziness or forgetfulness, when it comes to good oral hygiene.

“Being a dentist is tough, not just because caring for teeth is a complex profession, but because most patients don’t like going to the dentist. Many people are fearful of dental visits because their poor oral hygiene habits almost always end in painful treatments,” said Jeff Lyman, chief product officer at Weave.

Some key data points from the study include the following:

  • 41 percent of patients would forget to schedule a cleaning if they didn’t receive a reminder from their dentist.
  • More patients like to be reminded about dental appointments by text than by phone call or email.
  • 86 percent of patients say they will pay attention to a text from their dentist.
  • More people say bad breath more of a dating dealbreaker than being broke.
  • Nearly 60 percent of people who avoid going to the dentist regret it later.
  • 41 percent of patients would prefer to pay their dental bill via text, but only 12 percent say their dentist accepts text payments.
  • Nearly 70 percent of patients would gladly leave an online review if their dentist sent them a link to do so.
  • 74 percent of respondents want someone else to tell them if they have bad breath, but 77 percent definitely aren’t comfortable telling someone else they have bad breath.
  • 30 percent of people have had their day ruined because they walked around with something stuck in their teeth without knowing.
  • 23 percent of patients want more laughing gas but are embarrassed to ask.
  • 50 percent of people avoid smiling because they don’t like their teeth.
  • 53 percent of patients have gone more than three years without getting their teeth checked.
  • Top moments ruined by food stuck in teeth include job interviews, first dates, work presentations, having sex, family photos, wedding photos and speaking in public.

Weave commissioned independent market research firm TrendCandy to survey a random sample of 1,137 dental patients around the United States. The study was conducted in February 2020 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

(Source: Weave)

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