It's important to make regular visits to a general dentist so that they can prevent minor problems from getting worse, or send you to a specialist like an orthodontist when the issue is outside of their scope of practice. This type of preventative care is essential to maintaining good oral health. A new study finds, however, that many Americans are not receiving the dental care that they need. 

Based on survey data collected from 650,000 adults between 1999 and 2008, researchers from Duke University's School of Nursing found that between 23 and 43 percent of Americans were not receiving preventative dental care during a given year. The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health. 

The reasons why individuals were not seeing dentists included income, education and not being able to find a provider nearby. Another factor was health insurance, as the researchers found that an insured individual was 138 percent more likely to have preventative dental care than one without. Women were also more likely to seek treatment than men. One finding of particular concern to the scientists was the fact that smokers are less likely to seek care than others. Tobacco use is a major threat to oral health and can cause cancer of the throat and mouth. 

Preventative care not only includes visiting the general dentist, but an orthodontist as well. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first orthodontic check-up no later than age seven. This does not mean, however, that adults have to be stuck with a bad smile. If your general dentist has recommended that you see a specialist, or you think that you would benefit from orthodontic braces, contact an orthodontist in New York City today. 

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