We’ve all been brought up on the dental horror stories from our grandparents when they were children. That large painful needle, the loud drilling and no modern day anaesthetics. We’re so lucky that technology has dramatically evolved for the better, making dental procedures faster, simpler and gentler. Even with incredible updates to technology and access to better health education than ever before, why aren’t millennials championing good oral health for their generation?
Now more than ever, millennials are skipping out on a visit to the dental chair. With only one in three Australians keeping up to date with their dental appointments, that’s a worrying number leaving their oral health to chance. Whatever the reason might be, it could be doing you more harm than you realise with an Australian Health and Welfare report showing dental complications are the third biggest cause of preventable hospitalisations in Australia.
Are millennials full of excuses or valid reasons?
For some millennials, dental health doesn’t seem to be a top priority as results show the average individual has gone more than two days at a time without brushing their teeth. Oral health has now been definitively linked to your overall health so it’s important to keep great care of your teeth and gums from an early age. The same research also showed that Generation Y are more likely to have made excuses in order to not visit the dentist (50%) than people 55 and older (36%).
Despite the fact that a lot of millennials don’t seem to have great oral hygiene habits, over 56% of people are worried about losing teeth due to their dental health. So why are they avoiding regular checkups with dental professionals?
99 problems and the cost of dental is one
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, three in ten people put off going to the dentist due to the cost of treatments. This report also found of the people who had visited a dentist in the previous year, 20% did not go ahead with the recommended treatment because of the price and 44% of uninsured people were avoiding appointments altogether. Even people with private health insurance postponed visiting a dental practitioner with 20% of them saying they stayed away from the dentist’s chair.
High prices and lack of insurance are one of the major factors preventing many millennials from getting regular dental checkups. One day you’re at school living on your parents insurance and bill-free, the next you’re supporting yourself through university living in one of the most expensive cities in the world! It’s not surprising that paying for dental care comes at the bottom of a very long list of expenses – rent, bills, travel costs, school fees. If you’re not able to afford dental work or insurance, National Dental Care practices offer Afterpay where you can treat it now and pay it later.
Dentophobia – it’s a thing
Fear can stop people doing a lot of things in the life and visiting the dentist is one of them. Also known as dentophobia, it can be caused by a previous traumatic experience, being scared of needles and sharp tools, certain sounds or smells in a dental practice, or the fear of experiencing painful treatment. According to a survey completed by OnePoll, if given the choice one in three millennials would rather do a whole day at work than undergo a dental procedure.
If you are not one of the lucky few, dentophobia can have really bad consequences in your life. Tooth decay worsens over time and small cavities that once could have easily been filled, can lead to broken and rotten teeth requiring expensive and invasive dental work. This information can then make you even less likely to seek treatment, creating a vicious cycle. Remember, dentists are there to help – they’ve seen it all and can provide you with insights and tips to make you feel more relaxed in the chair.
It is important to make sure that you feel comfortable with the dentist who is treating you. Before you book an appointment, do some research on the dentist to get a feel for who they are. You can find out if they have specific training in an area of dentistry that you’re interested in, whether you have anything in common with them and read reviews from fellow patients. When you’re trusting someone with the health of your teeth and gums, you want to make sure that they’re the right fit. National Dental Care practitioners have measures in place to make sure anxious patients get the treatment that they deserve.
Working 9 to 5
Having no time is a typical problem for millennials these days. People have so much going on in their lives, and busy work schedules, that it’s hard to find time to go to the dentist.
It’s also easy to put off a visit when you have no symptoms. Just because you are experiencing no signs of decay, doesn’t mean that everything is necessarily fine. Dentists finding problems that are not yet threatening, is very beneficial to the patient because they’re able intervene before it becomes more serious.
Please excuse my breath
When you have bad breath and poor oral hygiene, it can be embarrassing seeing your dental professional. No need to be worried though as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that adults 15 and over have an average of 12.8 decayed, missing or filled teeth. Even though dentists have seen it all, it can be nerve wracking to open your mouth and show them the neglect of your teeth and gums. This can become a terrible cycle as the longer you stay away due to shame, the worse your teeth can become.
Unfortunately this is an all too common story, whether you’re a millennial or not maintaining excellent oral health is important. Don’t delay your visit, contact your National Dental Care practitioner to book in your appointment today.