By Jenifer Dorsey
A recent Gallup Youth Survey asked teens about their oral hygiene habits, and the findings were mixed. The majority of teens said they brushed at least twice a day and saw a dentist annually, while very few flossed regularly.
When asked, on average, how many times a day they brushed their teeth, teens age 13 through 17, 64 percent said they brushed twice a day or more.
When asked, how often, if ever, they flossed between their teeth in a typical week, 13 percent said they flossed once a day or more. However, slightly more (15 percent) confessed to never flossing. A few times a week was the most popular response with 27 percent saying that’s how often they flossed.
The survey also found that three-quarters of teens visited the dentist at least once per year.
To read more about the Gallup Youth Survey on teen dental habits, visit gallup.com/poll/13009/teens-teeth-most-brush-few-floss.aspx.
Dental insurance for teens
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in America, according to the CDC. It is also highly preventable through proper oral hygiene and preventive dentistry. To keep cavities at bay, the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner, eating nutritious and balanced meals and limiting snacking, checking with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride and dental sealants, and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.
Studies show that people with dental insurance have more dentist visits than those who do not. Most basic dental insurance plans cover preventive care at or close to 100 percent. Preventive benefits typically include two exams and cleanings per year, X-rays once a year, fluoride, and sealants for children.
There are many ways teens, as well as their parents and siblings, can obtain dental insurance. The Affordable Care Act’s pediatric dental and vision essential health benefit for kids younger than 19 years old comes embedded in or bundled with Obamacare qualified health insurance plans and also as standalone coverage through state-based and federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. Some exchanges also sell adult dental plans. Individual and family dental plans are also sold in the private marketplace—they start as low as $15 per month at websites such as dentalinsurance.org.
Visit dentalinsurance.org for a free dental insurance quote—no contact information needed until you apply. While you are there, read up on oral health and tips for buying dental insurance.
Have questions? Need help selecting the right dental benefits for you and your family? Call 888-468-9930 to talk to a dental insurance agent from dentalinsurance.org.
 McMurray, Coleen. “Teens and Teeth: Most Brush, Few Floss.” Gallup. Sept. 14, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/13009/teens-teeth-most-brush-few-floss.aspx.
 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Division of Oral Health. “Children’s Oral Health.” Last updated Sept. 10, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/children_adults/child.htm.
 American Dental Association. “Cavities.” MouthHealthy.org. N.D. Retrieved from http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cavities.