45% of U.S. Parents Report Missing Work for Children’s Oral Health Issues

Delta Dental Survey Finds 6% Increase Over Last Year 


GLENDALE, Ariz. (Oct. 26, 2017) — When it comes to their kids, working parents take time off for all kinds of reasons, some planned and some not. A recent survey by Delta Dental of Arizona has honed in on a somewhat unexpected reason parents miss work—their kid’s oral health issues.

According to a Delta Dental survey of the nation’s working parents1 , in 2015, 39 percent missed work for oral health issues. In 2017, that number has jumped to 45 percent.

The breakdown: 

  • Moms vs. Dads: Working mothers reported less time away from work due to their children’s oral health issues (37 percent) than working fathers (55 percent).
  • By parents’ age: 49 percent of parents age 18-34 reported missing work, with parents over age 35 reporting slightly less time out of the office (41 percent).
  • By hours missed: 45 percent of parents said they missed some work for kids’ oral health issues (up 6 percent from 2015); 14 percent missed 4-10 hours (up 4 percent from 2015) and 10 percent missed 1-3 hours (up 2 percent from 2015)
  • By kids’ age: Parents of younger or older kids didn’t see much difference in the amount of work they missed due to their child’s oral health issues, with 41 percent of parents with kids under age 3 reporting missed work; 43 percent with kids age 3-5; 44 percent with kids age 6-9; and 46 percent with kids ages 10-12.
  • By region: Parents in the West (55 percent) missed more work than parents in other areas of the country (48 percent in the Northeast. 39 percent in the Midwest, and 32 percent in the South).

With kids back in school, the survey suggests that oral health issues result in not just missed work for the parents, but missed school for children.

“In this fast-paced world where every hour counts, missing work to take care of a child’s oral health can have a financial toll on both families and employers. It also means lost education time for your kids,” said Tiffany Di Giacinto, director of marketing and communications at Delta Dental of Arizona. “Our goal is to help parents prevent cavities and oral health issues from ever happening. That’s why scheduling your kids for their twice-yearly preventive checkups is so important.”

Di Giacinto advises parents to try scheduling their family’s dental exams around school breaks—so during the seasonal breaks for summer, fall, winter or spring breaks is ideal.

Adults—on the other hand—are doing a better job of taking care of their teeth than in years past. According to a related Delta Dental survey, the vast majority of American adults aren’t taking time away from the office due to their own oral health issues. In 2017, only 21 percent of working adults reported missing work due to their own oral health issues—a 7 percent decline from 2016. 2

For more oral health tips and information, visit the Delta Dental of Arizona Blog.


About Delta Dental of Arizona
Delta Dental of Arizona is the leading dental benefits provider in Arizona, serving more than 1 million enrollees and more than 3,300 contracted dentists across the state. Passionate about oral health and its importance to generations of families, Delta Dental of Arizona has worked for more than 40 years to improve oral health by emphasizing preventive care and making dental coverage accessible to a wide variety of employers, groups and individuals. For more information about Delta Dental of Arizona, visit www.deltadentalaz.com.


1 Kelton, a leading global insights firm, conducted the 2017 Delta Dental Children’s Oral Health Survey. The survey was conducted between January 24, 2017 and January 31, 2017 among a nationally representative sample of 1,588 parents of children ages 6-12, with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.

2017 Delta Dental Adult Oral Health Survey. The survey was conducted by Kelton between January 24, 2017 and January 31, 2017 among a nationally representative sample of 1,108 Americans over age 18, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.