Overall spending on dental care in Wisconsin and across the United States
has remained flat in recent years, despite the fact that per patient dental spending
by baby boomers and seniors increased. Two research briefs released in April
2013 by the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Resources Center bolster
previous statistics showing that adult dental visits declined from 2000 to 2010, leading
to less spending on dentistry and oral care.
Significantly, the declines in both dental spending and visits predate the economic crisis of 2008. In 2011, dental spending accounted for 4 percent of overall national health expenditures, down from 4.5 percent in 2000, according to HPRC analysis of data gathered from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rate of growth of dental spending has also slowed in recent years. Between 1990 and 2002, per capita dental spending grew by 3.9 percent per year after adjusting for inflation, a rate that fell to 1.8 percent between 2002 and 2008. Since 2008, the per capita dental expenditure growth rate declined 0.3 percent while overall health spending grew by 1.6
According to a previous HPRC brief, 41 percent of adults reported going to the dentist during the prior year in 2003. That figure declined to 37 percent in 2010. Children, however, visited dentists more often between 2003 and 2010, but since their dental care tends to be less expensive than adults’, it did not result in greater dental spending overall. While overall dental expenditures have remained flat, the HPRC analysis shows there’s more to the story –spending by baby boomers and the elderly is on the rise. Between 2000 and 2010,
seniors’ annual spending on their dental care increased from $655 to $796.
The HPRC credits the increase to advances in preventive and restorative dental care, leading to greater numbers of elderly retaining their teeth. To read the full research briefs, visit http://bit.ly/17aCGEW.