A new Gallup poll has revealed that 1 in 3 adults in the United States have not visited the dentist within the past year – a trend that has stayed mostly the same since 2008.

The survey is based on information gathered from interviews with more than 530,000 Americans aged 18 and older. Women were much more likely to have visited the dentist annually than men; among ethnic groups, 55 percent of blacks and Hispanics recalled visiting the dentist in the past year, compared to 70 percent of whites and Asians.

The biggest predictor of visiting the dentist was income. Individuals who made more than $120,000 a year were twice as likely to have visited the dentist than those who earn less than $12,000 a year.

According to recommendations from the American Dental Association, adults should visit the dentist at least once a year to lower the risk of oral disease. The poll found that 64.7 percent of Americans are meeting this minimum requirement.

Poor oral care is linked with a number of oral health issues, such as gingivitis and cavities. Recent studies have also found an association between poor oral hygiene with cardiovascular disease and stroke, likely due to dislodged oral bacteria entering the bloodstream.

Dr. Ryne Johnson, prosthodontist and director of Newton Wellesley Dental Partners reminds everyone that pro-action is less costly, less stressful and a smarter approach than reaction when addressing dental issues. So, remember to, “See a specialist…The difference will make you smile”.