Many Americans say they forgo routine dental care

Results out this week from a Gallup-Healthways poll of 355,334 Americans indicate that more than one-third of the population, 34% to be exact, did not visit a dentist last year at all. A recent American Dental Association survey shows dentists' incomes are dropping, too, and some dentists say patients who've lost dental insurance are asking about alternate payment plans or skipping appointments.

The 2008 Gallup data report that in nine states, close to half of residents did not visit a dentist last year, even though the ADA recommends twice-yearly cleanings and check-ups. Men, African Americans, Hispanics and seniors were more likely to skip, an historic pattern, Messina says. Over half of those making less than $2,000 a month reported omitting visits as well, according to Gallup.

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