SEATTLE, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Dental care can save money later, but when economic times get tough preventive dental care can be one of the first things to go, U.S. researchers said.
However, the correlation between rising unemployment and a drop in preventive dental care is not necessarily due to people being short of cash, said study lead author Brian Quinn of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The distraction of worrying about not having a job can make dental care drop off a person's radar, Quinn said.
"During stressful periods, those things that don't seem as urgent may be ignored," Quinn said in a statement. "Even for people who are working, or who have a working partner or spouse, there might be an impact if they're stressed about themselves or their significant others losing their jobs."
The researchers analyzed 10 years of information about visits to dentists' offices in metropolitan Seattle and Spokane from Washington Dental Services, the largest dental insurer in the state.
The study, published in the online edition of Health Services Research, found for every 10,000 people who lost their jobs, there was a 1.2 percent decrease in Seattle in visits to dentists for checkups and a 5.95 percent decrease in Spokane.