Many people do not get regular dental care, which is often due to a lack of dental insurance. It is estimated that about 1 in 4 Americans don't have dental insurance. Over time, untreated dental problems like cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis (inflammation of the gum tissue around teeth) can lead to pain and tooth loss. Several studies have also demonstrated a link between advanced periodontal disease and more serious health problems, including coronary artery disease and, in pregnant women, preterm low birth weight.
Recommendations on how often people should see a dentist or dental hygienist vary. For some people, an annual visit may suffice, especially if they brush and floss their teeth on a regular basis. For others, including people who smoke or have diabetes, more frequent visits may be beneficial.