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Many people rely on the dental industry to help maintain their oral health. Statistics about the dental industry shed light on oral health practices, the economic burdens of poor oral health, and opportunities for individuals working in this healthcare sector.

This article lists important statistics that can help you better understand the state of dentistry today. We break down dental industry stats by the following categories:

Learn more by reading the dental industry overview below!

Oral health and dental habits among U.S. adults

1. Less than 14% of Americans floss every day.

Flossing is essential to removing food particles that brushing may leave behind. Combined with twice-daily brushing, flossing reduces the risk of gum disease and other dental complications.

2. Over 64% of adults had at least one dental exam or cleaning in 2022.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends having a dental exam and cleaning at least once a year. Two times is better.

3. More than 90% of adults have had at least one cavity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that oral health disorders are among the top three types of health-related burdens worldwide. Caries, which are cavities and other types of tooth decay, continue to be a significant oral health concern that can cause serious health problems if left untreated.

4. Over 26% of adults have untreated cavities and tooth decay.

That is equal to more than one in four people over 18. Tooth decay can lead to other issues like bad breath, tooth pain and sensitivity, infection, and tooth loss.

5. More than 47% of adults in the U.S. suffer from advanced gum disease, or periodontitis.

The gums play a crucial role in supporting the health and structure of teeth. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss and deterioration of the jawbone and tissues that support the teeth.

6. Experts estimate that about 178 million people are missing at least one tooth.

Missing one or more teeth does not just compromise your appearance and smile. Those gaps can lead to the remaining teeth shifting out of place, causing misalignment throughout the mouth. If you have missing teeth, your dentist can suggest a remedy like dentures, bridges, or dental implants.

7. Of people who have lost all their teeth, there are 6% more people who are also smokers and come from low-income backgrounds.

Compare this figure to about 1% of people who have lost all their teeth but earn higher incomes and have never smoked. Smoking and socioeconomic status represent some of the many factors affecting your oral health.

8. About three in four Latinx individuals and non-Latinx African Americans have untreated dental conditions.

Individuals in these groups are more likely to report having poor oral health. People with lower incomes also tend to experience unmet oral health needs. Although more people than ever are keeping their natural teeth, many still suffer from untreated dental problems.

9. One in four women of childbearing age have cavities that need treatment.

A pregnant person with untreated cavities is at greater risk for pregnancy complications. Pregnant people also are more likely to develop caries due to dietary changes.

Children and dental health

10. More than 86% of children 2-17 years old have had at least one dental visit in the previous year.

Encouraging dental visits and proper oral hygiene in children will set a strong precedent for lifelong positive dental habits. It will also reduce their risk for dental problems later in life.

11. About 13.2% of children aged 5-19 have untreated cavities.

When accounting for all types of caries, that rate increases to 43%.

12. Over half of children six to eight years old have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth.

Cavities in baby or primary teeth represent a common dental problem among young children. Cavities can lead to tooth pain and difficulties eating, sleeping, and talking.

13. Children belonging to families with lower incomes are twice as likely to develop cavities as those from higher-income families.

Socioeconomic status can significantly impact receiving proper oral health education, early interventions for dental problems, and routine check-ups. Income also affects families’ access to affordable dental care.

14. Children experiencing poor dental health are almost three times as likely to miss school because of pain.

Tooth pain is a common reason for kids missing school. This and related statistics highlight poor oral health’s negative effects on a child’s educational and social development.

15. Children are three times more likely to develop cavities if they have mothers with more untreated cavities and tooth loss.

Parents with cavities and tooth decay can also have harmful oral bacteria that they can pass on to their children. Comprehensive dental care for children includes parents’ and guardians’ access to regular dental check-ups and treatments for dental problems.

Dental health and diabetes

16. Approximately 60% of adults with diabetes had no dental visit the previous year.

This figure represents U.S. adults with diabetes who have had a medical visit. The relationship between diabetes care and good oral health is well-documented.

17. Adults with diabetes are 40% more likely to have untreated cavities.

Having diabetes puts you at higher risk for many dental problems. If you have diabetes, managing your overall health includes keeping up with dental check-ups and routine cleanings.

18. U.S. adults 50 and over with diabetes have fewer than 20 teeth, about 46% more often than people without diabetes.

People with diabetes in the same age group also have severe tooth loss—retaining eight or fewer teeth—56% more often. This level of tooth loss can be partially blamed on the conditions common among people with diabetes, including dry mouth, low blood sugar control, and certain medications that treat this chronic condition.

Smoking and dental health

19. Over 40% of adults aged 20-64 who smoke have untreated tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay is higher in people who smoke cigarettes.

Smoking is a prevalent risk factor for many dental problems. Cavities and tooth decay that do not get timely or adequate attention tend to be higher among smokers.

20. Adults over 65 who smoke regularly are twice as likely to live with untreated tooth decay than people in the same age group who do not smoke.

Proper oral hygiene is essential for people of all ages. Tobacco use can adversely affect dental health and other aspects of well-being.

21. About 43% of people 65 and over who smoke have total tooth loss.

In addition to smoking cigarettes, using other tobacco products can also increase the risk of oral cancer and discoloration inside the mouth. If you smoke and are struggling to quit, your dentist can offer strategies to help.

Costs of Dental Health and Economic Burdens

22. Dental care costs the U.S. more than $124 billion each year.

These costs go toward preventive care, treatment for dental problems, and initiatives to promote good oral health. The overall economic burden associated with dental care also reflects inadequate access to dental care experienced by some populations and the lack of comprehensive dental insurance.

23. Due to emergency dental care, children in the U.S. lose over 34 million school hours.

The U.S. workforce loses more than $45 billion in productivity because of unplanned dental care.

24. Even with dental insurance, people in the U.S. can expect to pay an average of $978 per year for dental visits.

This figure applies to people with generally good oral health. If you do not have any dental insurance, you may pay an average of $1,007 annually or more if you need to treat serious issues.

25. If you have diabetes, you can expect to pay $77 more for dental care than people without this chronic condition.

This extra cost amounts to $1.9 billion nationwide. Having diabetes not only increases your risk for dental issues but also your economic burden.

26. If the U.S. expanded health insurance to cover periodontal treatment for people with diabetes, each person living with this condition could experience lifelong savings of about $6,000.

Understanding the connection between diabetes and dental health can help address many of the oral care issues that people with diabetes face, including control of blood sugar, gum disease, the ability to fight tooth infection, and the role of diabetes medication on tooth health.

Dental health professionals

27. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dentists earned a median salary of $163,220 in 2021.

Dentists with government jobs made even more. Oral surgeons and orthodontists can earn more than $200,000 each year.

28. The BLS projects that jobs for dentists will grow 6% from now through 2031.

This figure amounts to about 5,100 new dentist positions each year. This job growth projection reflects the need to replace dentists who switch careers, enter other healthcare sectors, or retire.

29. Dental hygienists earned a median of $77,810 in 2021.

This figure is well above the 2021 median of all occupations in the U.S. economy, which is $45,760. Hygienists in dentist or physician offices tend to be the highest earners in this group.

30. Jobs for dental hygienists could grow by 9% between now and 2031.

This projected growth rate is higher than the 5% growth expected across all occupations in healthcare and other industries. The increasing demand for hygienists is partly fueled by the growing number of older adults who will need more dental care services in the near future.

Financial landscape and economic outlook of the dental industry

31. The dental industry was estimated to be worth $36.32 billion in 2021.

The industry saw a 7.6% decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, experts note that this field is in steady recovery, especially with the increased use of telemedicine.

32. The dental care sector is projected to grow to $63.93 billion by 2029.

The future of the dental industry looks generally positive, especially with the emergence of new treatment technologies and ongoing research.

33. In 1999, two out of three dental offices were solo.

That 1999 number has today dropped to one out of two. This trend suggests that increasingly more dentists are considering consolidated practices.

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