Preventive Dental Care for Seniors and Boomers

Boomers & Seniors Are Looking for More Preventive Dental Care

Dental care is a major component of the Canadian healthcare system. It accounts for 7% of total spending, rivals the nation’s budget for heart disease and cancer, and becomes vital to overall health as Canadians grow older. It is increasingly clear, for example, that healthy gums and teeth are linked to a healthy heart. Dental benefits, moreover, are the second most expensive benefit cost for Canadian employers and are thereby important to the competitiveness of the Canadian economy.

In this context, it is important to know what Boomers and Seniors want from their dental services a topic for which there is little or no information. To find out, CHX Technologies, a dental pharmaceutical company, commissioned Ipsos-Reid, the leading Canadian market research firm, to conduct a national survey of Canadians aged 40+ about their preferences for dental services. The results are insightful and instructive not only to Canadian dental offices, but also to the overall Canadian healthcare debate.

The survey found the following:

41% of Canadians aged 40+ have had a filling or a crown put in over the past year.
The most common method for which Canadians over the age of 40 pay for their dental services is out of pocket, with 37% reporting this is how they usually pay. This number increases to six in ten (59%) among those 70+.
Over the past two years, one quarter (24%) of Canadians aged 40+ have spent more then $400 out of their own pocket on dental services.
If they had to purchase a dental plan for their family, 75% said that it was important that this plan include filling for cavities, while 74% stated that it was important that this plan included prevention of gum disease. Other important factors include oral cancer diagnosis (66%), a new preventative program for tooth decay (63%), crowns (53%), dental implants (40%), and cosmetic services such as whitening (25%)
Half (50%) said that they would follow their dentists recommendations for purchasing a new preventive coating to reduce their chances of further decay at the gum line. One in five (21%) would pay for this new preventive coating regardless of whether insurance would cover it or not..
Six in ten (59%) Canadians aged 40+ expressed interest in Partners in Prevention, a growing network of Canadian dental offices which provide prevention services to people over 40. Four in ten said they would want their dentist to join Partners in Prevention or would ask their dentist if they were going to become a Partner in Prevention. Two in ten (18%) said they would either visit a Partner in Prevention or select a Partner in Prevention as their new dentist.

The Ipsos-Reid survey of 1,048 Canadians aged 40 and over was conducted on-line over 7 days in mid July, 2008. An unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire adult population aged 40+ in Canada been polled.

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