More than half (53.8%) of adults in the US do not have consistent access to dental care and may resort to home remedies, which are not always safe. In fact, according to a visual report from CareQuest Institute, half of adults who experienced an oral health problem in the last 12 months used a home remedy for the problem.
DIY Dental Care — Safe or Dangerous?
The report, compiled from data from the State of Oral Health Equity in America survey, shares additional insights into home remedies used by consumers, including:
- Those who had not had a dental visit in the last two years were 10% more likely to use dangerous home remedies than those who had a dental visit more recently.
- Those who smoke used one or more dangerous home remedies twice as often as those who do not smoke.
- Individuals who identified as Black (62.4%) and as two or more race/ethnicities (60.0%) reported that they used a home remedy for oral health symptoms more often than individuals identifying as white (49.5%), Hispanic (45.5%), Asian (42.9%), or “other” (47.6%).
- The majority of home remedies used by survey respondents are considered safe for short-term use (75%).
Unsafe home remedies included tobacco poultice, pain medication prescribed for another purpose, illegal narcotics, a needle to lance a gum abscess, aspirin powder applied to the gums, and alcohol/spirits. Having a dental home where safe and effective home care guidance is provided can prevent individuals from using unsafe home remedies.
You may also be interested in:
- Oral Hygiene Home Care Practices in America, a research brief that examines the correlation between brushing, flossing, and other oral hygiene habits such as consuming sugary beverages and using tobacco.
- Clearing the Air: The Relationship Between Cigarette Use, Vaping, and Oral Health, a visual report that explains the oral health symptoms and risks from vaping.
- Emergency Departments Are No Place for Dental Care, a web page that features a series of research reports about adult utilization of EDs for non-traumatic dental conditions across the US and by individual states.