Going to the dentist in the best of times isn’t exactly a picnic in the park, which makes going to the dentist during a pandemic a picnic with an ant problem.
As it stands today, 89% of U.S. adults say their dental health is important to them, yet a little over 40% of Americans say they would not feel comfortable going to see their dentist right now for an annual visit.
Even people who have concerns about their dental health are mixed on whether or not they feel safe going to the dentist. A full 27% of people with dental concerns aren’t going to the dentist for at least 6 months.
In general, people who say the health of their teeth is “very important” are significantly more likely to go to their annual checkup during the pandemic than people who only consider their dental health “somewhat important” or “not at all important.” In fact, the more likely someone is to frequently change their toothbrush (evidence they highly value dental hygiene), the more likely they are to say they’re comfortable going to the dentist now.
As with all things coronavirus, the data show political leanings play a role. People who lean conservative are 41% more likely than people who lean liberal to report being ready to go see the dentist now. Liberals are the most concerned about their dental health but also the least comfortable going in for their annual visit.
A step down from the check-up is a simple cleaning, and more Americans are ready to shine up those pearly whites. In fact, 7 out of 10 Americans say they’re at least “somewhat” comfortable getting their teeth cleaned right now.
Parents of children under the age of 18, however, are more likely to not skip their kids’ appointments, with nearly 80% of parents saying they would take their children to the dentist for a cleaning today.
Here’s some good news for anyone thinking of getting in the toothbrush game: Gen Z changes out their brushes at the highest rate, and they’re quicker to change it within two months at a 48% higher clip than the 55+ crowd. That’s right: Toothbrushes appear to be a growth industry.
On the electric toothbrush front, more than half of Americans report trying and liking the experience, with 20% of Americans trying it and finding it leaves a bad taste in their mouth.
The 25 to 34 age group is most jazzed by electric toothbrushes, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the 55+ age group is least excited by the prospect.
Here’s something that would be expected when discussing new-fangled tech, but it applies to simple electric toothbrushes as well: The more someone claims they follow trends in tech, the more likely they are to use and like electric toothbrushes.
Overall, the majority of Americans feel comfortable enough to see their dentist. But perhaps, when all is said and done, it all comes down to how much someone values their – or others’ – smile.
After all, people who have a favorable view of Julia Roberts, she of Hollywood’s greatest smile, are 14% more likely to go for a cleaning during the pandemic compared to people who don’t find Ms. Roberts charming in the least.