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

More than three-in-four respondents support the creation of a national dental care plan proposed by the federal NDP.

Vancouver, BC [August 11, 2020] – 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.

Results are based on an online survey conducted from August 1 to August 3, 2020, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.