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    New report finds many are unaware of connection between poor oral health and serious medical conditions

    Delta Dental of Massachusetts data shows that preventive dental visits still have not returned to pre-pandemic levels


    Delta Dental of Massachusetts recently released the 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report, a nationwide analysis of consumer opinions and behaviors relating to oral health. Findings from the Delta Dental-commissioned research of U.S. adults and parents of children ages 12 and younger illuminate what they thought about their oral health and what they did to properly care for it at home and with their dentist during 2021.
    The report comes at a time, post-pandemic, when many people have been slow to return to the dentist for routine preventive care. According to an analysis of Delta Dental of Massachusetts claims data, preventive visits per month are still down 10% from pre-pandemic levels. By contrast, visits for major services (root canals, tooth extractions, etc.) in 2021 have rebounded and are at, or in some months above, pre-pandemic levels. To help people get back to preventive care and avoid those root canals, Delta Dental of Massachusetts is using claims data to identify members who are overdue for preventive care and help dentists get them back to the dental office.
    “It's promising that an overwhelming majority of adults understand the connection between oral health and overall health. However, we still have work to do ensure that people understand the links between preventive oral care and serious health conditions,” said Dennis Leonard, President & CEO of Delta Dental of Massachusetts. “Here at Delta Dental of Massachusetts, we are working hard to educate members about the importance of maintaining good dental health and we’re using data in new and innovative ways to help get members back into their dental routine.”
    A few highlights from this year’s report include:
    Public interest prevails in getting smarter about oral health’s link to better health

    • Nearly all U.S. adults (92%) and parents (96%) indicate that they consider oral health to be very, if not extremely, important to overall health.
    • However, the research finds that many are unaware of how oral health and overall health are connected, as a significant number of people were unable to recognize the medical conditions that are linked to poor oral health, including strokes (38%), high blood pressure (37%) and diabetes (36%).
    • The promising news is 9 in 10 (90%) adults are interested in learning about oral health’s critical connection to overall health.
    To read the full 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report and learn more about the report’s methodology and findings, click here.

    About the research

    The 2022 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is based upon Delta Dental-commissioned research conducted between January 19 and January 28, 2022, by Material, a global insights and strategy consultancy, using an email invitation and online surveys to two audiences recruited through an opt-in panel:
    • 1,172 parents of children ages 12 and younger.
    • 1,027 nationally representative Americans ages 18+.
    Quotas were set to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. population of adults and parents with children ages 12 and younger. The report has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

    About Delta Dental of Massachusetts

    Delta Dental of Massachusetts (, the largest provider of dental benefits in the state, is a leader in innovative programs that improve the overall health of members, prevent oral disease and reduce health care costs for employers, groups and individuals. Headquartered in Charlestown, Mass., Delta Dental of Massachusetts, a member of the Delta Dental Plans Association (, covers more than 2 million people. Follow us on Twitter (@DeltaDentalofMA), Facebook (, and Instagram (@deltadentalofma) and check out the monthly oral health calendar at

    About Delta Dental Plans Association

    Based in Oak Brook, Illinois, Delta Dental Plans Association is the not-for-profit national association of the 39 independent Delta Dental companies. Through these companies, Delta Dental is the nation's largest dental insurance provider, covering more than 83 million Americans, and offering the country's largest dental network with approximately 154,000 participating dentists. Over the last decade, Delta Dental companies provided over $1.75 billion in direct and in-kind support to improve the oral health of our communities across the country. Visit for information on individual dental insurance plans and group dental insurance plans.