The American Dental Association (ADA) recently released the findings of a national survey that focused on how Americans view the importance of our oral health, and how our dental health impacts our quality of life.

The ADA broke the data down on a state-by-state basis, and found that while most of us say we value our oral health, many are avoiding dental checkups and other steps we can take to protect our oral health. Following is a look at some key findings from South Carolina extracted from the ADA Health Policy Institute’s “Oral Health & Well-Being in the United States” report.

Overall State of Teeth and Oral Health

According to the South Carolina data sheet, 37 percent of South Carolina adults view the condition of their teeth as “good,” while 28 percent said their teeth were “very good,” 22 percent considered their teeth “fair,” and 13 percent said their teeth were in “poor” condition.

Participants were then asked if they considered life less satisfying due to the condition of their teeth and mouth. Of the South Carolina respondents, 46 percent said the condition of their oral health “never” affected their happiness, while 26 percent said it “rarely” impacted their satisfaction, and 21 percent said their oral health “occasionally” made life less satisfying.

Attitudes about Oral Health

Almost 97 percent of South Carolina adults said they value their oral health, and 96 percent said they agreed that regular dental visits are key to maintaining oral health. Yet only 37 percent of adults said they actually visited the dentist within the past year.

More than half of those surveyed said they accept they would lose teeth as they aged. This particular perspective skewed widely by income; 71 percent of low-income adults said they accepted they would lose teeth with age, while only 45 percent of high-income adults said they believed tooth loss was a byproduct of aging.

Smiling and Self-Confidence

Though South Carolina residents generally seem to feel pretty good about the state of their smiles, not everyone feels comfortable showing it. According to the survey:

  • 1 in 5 South Carolina adults avoids smiling due to the condition of their teeth and mouth
  • 1 in 5 South Carolina adults feels embarrassment about the condition of their teeth and mouth
  • 1 in 5 South Carolina adults experiences anxiety due to the condition of their teeth and mouth

Nearly 10 percent of respondents said they occasionally avoid participating socially due to the condition of their teeth or mouth, and 16 percent said they believed the appearance of their teeth or mouth would impact their ability to interview for a job. Just over 80 percent of respondents said it is easier to get ahead in life if they have straight, bright teeth. This impact is part of the reason why South Carolina renewed Medicaid coverage of dental care.

The dentists at Smile Columbia Dentistry are dedicated to helping patients restore and maintain vibrant, healthy smiles through highly personalized care. If you live in the Columbia, SC, area and you’re due for a checkup, or if you’re considering cosmetic dentistry treatment, please call us today at (803) 791-9090.