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Benevis Report Emphasizes the Need to Prioritize Adolescent Dental Health in Honor of World Oral Health Day 

Despite numerous advances in healthcare, achieving equitable access to dental treatment is still out of reach for one in three U.S. adolescents who do not have access to preventive dental care, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 

Atlanta, GA, March 14, 2024 — Benevis, a leading dental healthcare and orthodontics delivery organization committed to providing quality care to underserved communities, announces the release of its report, The Impact of Neglected Adolescent Dental Care on Adult Health. In support of World Oral Health Day this March 20, 2024, the paper highlights pertinent research and data on the continuing need for clinical providers and families to reinforce positive dental health habits and orthodontic care from the ages of 12 to 19 years old to influence oral health into adulthood to critically impact overall health and well-being across all patient populations.  

Many oral diseases and harmful health behaviors managed by adults begin in adolescence. About 57% of adolescents have had tooth decay in their permanent teeth, a preventable disease. Not only does it affect permanent teeth from early childhood into adolescence, but decay also negatively impacts the ability to eat and speak, which is critical to physical and psychosocial health. Older adolescents ages 16 to 19 are more likely to experience cavities, and those from lower-income households are twice as likely to have untreated decay as those from higher-income families. Harmful behaviors with implications for adverse oral health outcomes, like dietary habits, smoking, vaping, and substance use, also become more common in adolescent years.  

In the U.S., social determinants of health (SDOH) have risk factors that are directly linked to poor oral health outcomes and are attributed to social, economic, and geographic barriers. Research has proven that 22% of adolescents from low-income households are twice as likely to have untreated decay as those not from low-income households. The same report found that non-Hispanic Black (20%) and Mexican American (21%) adolescents experience more untreated tooth decay than non-Hispanic White (16%) adolescents. Expanding access to equitable oral healthcare to support dental disparities during this vital stage of life is essential to adolescent health and well-being. 

“Access to quality dental care should be easy, especially when it’s essential; however, millions of adolescents face barriers to treatment or lack of dental hygiene resources and education for healthy smiles,” said Bryan Carey, CEO of Benevis. “As adolescents move closer to adulthood or further away from the support of their parents’ dental insurance coverage, establishing strong oral health habits that they can maintain over a lifetime becomes even more important. This work begins in the household and within their dental home–the ongoing relationship with a dental provider–to prevent the early onset of dental disease and teach healthy behaviors.” 

Benevis is proud to have a 20-year history of expanding access to affordable care for disadvantaged communities, delivering the highest quality care to approximately 5 million children and adults, including 82% who are enrolled in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program plans. Along with the expansion of routine dental care services, orthodontic care is a priority for the organization. Benevis recently opened eight orthodontic offices in 2023, expanding its services to 90 locations nationwide to support patient orthodontic treatment and care. The organization also introduced an Ortho calculatorto give patients, families, and caregivers a visual tool to better understand potential payment and financing options. 

Dr. Grant Zakhar, Orthodontist at Youth Dentistry Georgia, a Benevis-managed practice with three offices in the state, shared that while some patients are interested in braces for cosmetic reasons, many have a real clinical need. “Some patients have so much crowding, their teeth can’t come in, there’s impacted teeth, or some growth of the jaw is needed to make room increasing the risk of places where plaque can stick that are hard to reach with a toothbrush and floss, leading to cavities,” he explained. “As an Orthodontist, I’m teaching the parents and the patient what’s going on, what we do, and why it’s not just putting colors on teeth. The education piece is essential to ensure for a healthy smile.” 

For more information, view The Impact of Neglected Adolescent Dental Care on Adult Health white paper here. 

About Benevis
Benevis is a leading dental healthcare delivery organization for practices focused on delivering life-changing oral care and orthodontics to underserved communities. Through comprehensive care and operational services that expand access to dentistry, Benevis has a 20-year history of providing the highest quality care to approximately 5 million children and adults. Its network reaches more than 100 locally branded dental offices across the U.S. that deliver treatment through 1.4 million visits each year. Benevis also advocates for programs and legislation that ensure all families have access to the oral healthcare they need and deserve. For more information, visit