A ten year Study covering the period 1998-2008 revealed a study, upward trend in the public’s utilization of preventive dental care services. Yet, variations exist along ethnic and gender lines.

The Study, conducted by Duke University researchers, surveyed 650,000 middle-aged and elderly individuals in the United States over by telephone between 1999 and 2008. Participants in the survey were asked about their latest professional cleanings and other preventive dental care.

Among the Study’s findings, first published in the journal, Frontiers in Public Health, include the following:

• Women, were 33 percent more likely to follow through with regular dental exams, proper brushing and flossing, and general cleanings than men.
• People with health insurance are 138 percent more likely to seek out preventive health care than are individuals without such coverage
• Asian Americans and Caucasians follow through with preventive dental care the most. These two groups utilization rates were 77 percent and 76 percent, respectively.
• An average of 62 percent of Hispanics and Native Americans, and 57 percent of African Americans received preventive dental care annually over the period Studied

The researchers also found that more Americans received preventive dentistry with each successive year of the period studied. Unfortunately, from 23 to 43 percent of individuals did not seek dental care. Smokers were least likely to avail themselves of preventive services.

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