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 percent.
According to a previous HPRC brief, in 2003 41 percent of adults reported going to the dentist during the prior year. 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.
Note the increased spending by Boomers and elderly. I suspect the economy plays a role here as the elderly probably have more disposable income and may want to keep their teeth, unlike their parents, a lot of whom thought they would lose their teeth and have to get dentures. Fortunately, the boomers have been able to take full advantage of the fluoridation affect but still they are the ‘bleachers’ of today’s dental offices.