Something to chew on: Gen Z places less importance on oral health well-being — more emphasis on nontraditional care

Delta Dental study says top motivators of practicing proper oral health were saving money, preventing dental issues

You know how we feel about surveys and statistics here at ROI-NJ: They are not the gospel truth — but, they often provide a snapshot into societal views.

Delta Dental’s 2023 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is another example of this.

The report shows oral health knowledge and habits vary across generational groups, despite a strong understanding of the critical connection between oral health and overall health.

Nearly all U.S. adults (92%) and parents (96%) said they consider oral health to be very important to overall health, but, when asked if maintaining good oral health enables a healthier lifestyle, the numbers shifted by generation.

Only 73% of Gen Z agreed — compared with a higher average of 90% for millennials, Gen X and boomers.

For background, those considered to be in Gen Z were born in the mid-to-late 1990s as starting birth years and the early 2010s as ending birth years. Most members of Generation Z are children of Generation X.

Back to the study: Gen Z’s oral health views manifest in a number of ways. According to the report, members of Gen Z seek oral care products outside of medicine cabinet staples — and they are a driving force behind alternative oral care product usage. They are almost twice as likely as boomers (66% versus 36%) to use ecofriendly or nontraditional dental products.

Other snippets from the study:

  • One in 10 adults turn to ecofriendly oral care products such as bamboo or plant-based toothbrushes;
  • Approximately 4 in 5 adults (81%) who maintained regular dental visits said they did not require future unexpected care, showing that prevention works;
  • Top motivators of practicing proper oral health care among adults include saving money (87%) and preventing dental issues such as cavities and gum disease (66%).

The 2023 State of America’s Oral Health and Wellness Report is based upon Delta Dental Plans Association-commissioned research conducted between Jan. 6-23 by Material Holdings LLC, a global insights and strategy consultancy, using an email invitation and online surveys of two audiences recruited through an opt-in panel:

  • 1,000 nationally representative Americans ages 18-plus;
  • 1,253 parents of children ages 12 and under.

Research in this report has a margin of error of +/-3%.