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POLL – One-in-Four Canadians Did Not Visit a Dentist in the Past Year

Vancouver – Just over two-in-five Canadians went to the dentist twice in the past year, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 26% of Canadians say they have not visited the dentist over the past 12 months. About a third (32%) went to the dentist only once, while 42% visited two or more times.

Men (28%), Canadians aged 35-to-54 (27%), residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (33%) and those in the lowest income bracket (35%) are more likely to have skipped a visit to the dentist in the last year.

When it comes to specific dental health behaviour, more than seven-in-ten Canadians (72%) say they brush their teeth twice a day or more. The proportion is highest among Canadians aged 18-to-34 (78%).

Significantly fewer Canadians rely on mouthwash or rinse (26%), dental floss (25%) or a tongue cleaner (18%) at least twice a day.

More than half of Canadians (54%) say they keep a toothbrush with them on an average day that does not entail travel.

Residents of Quebec are the most likely to have a toothbrush handy when they are away from home (61%), followed by Ontarians (57%), Atlantic Canadians (56%), British Columbians (53%) and Albertans (51%). The proportion is lower among residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (39%).

About two-in-five Canadians have chewing gum (39%) and dental floss (38%) with them when they are away from home, while fewer carry mints (31%) or a mouthwash or rinse (29%).

“While almost half of Canadian women have chewing gum handy when they are away from home (46%), significantly fewer men behave the same way (31%),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Women are also more likely to carry mints than men (36% to 26%).”

The federal New Democratic Party (NDP) has proposed the creation of a national dental care plan, which would provide complete, federally funded dental coverage to uninsured Canadians with a household income lower than $70,000 a year.

More than three-in-four Canadians (77%) are in favour of this proposal, including majorities of those who voted for the NDP (91%), the Liberal Party (83%) and the Conservative Party (66%) in the last federal election.

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