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Spooky Stats and a ‘Teeth’giving Date Worth Saving

Part of the fun of Halloween is being afraid – very afraid – but, it turns out at least one of the public’s top fears is unfounded. As part of the AAE’s Worth Saving campaign, we recently conducted a survey in light of Halloween on some of the most common fears. Results showed more people (59%) are afraid of getting a root canal than speaking in public (57%), spiders (55%) or being trapped in an elevator (54%).

The October 2019 survey of 1,000 U.S. adults also found that when given the option of a root canal or another activity:

  • 57% would rather spend 1 hour in a room with 10 spiders.
  • 54% would rather sing the national anthem at a sport game.
  • 53% would rather have a snake in their lap for 15 minutes.
  • 41% would rather go swimming with sharks.

Fear of root canals is even greater for young people, where 73% of 18- to 24-year-olds would rather speak in public, and 71% percent would rather run a marathon than get a root canal. Forty seven percent of 18- to 24-olds said they would even rather go swimming with sharks than get a root canal.

Have No Fear

Releasing this survey was not meant to cause despair for practitioners that our specialty might never overcome RCT’s bad rap; but rather, we can leverage these results to show the public that, contrary to silly, outdated beliefs, today’s root canal is nothing to fear. It  certainly should not be feared as much as actual unpleasantness, like creepy crawlies or dangerous sharks. Dispelling misconceptions is powerful — our news release about the survey was picked up by more than 100 outlets, reaching a total audience of almost 58 million people!

“The reality is there’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to root canals,” said AAE President Dr. Keith V. Krell, in the news release. As pain management experts skilled in advanced dental technology and anesthetics, endodontists can deliver a virtually painless procedure.”

Sweet News for Chocolate-Lovers

As trick-or-treaters got ready to indulge in large amounts of Halloween candy, the study also asked: What’s the safest candy for your teeth?  Out of a list of traditional Halloween-style candies, only 19% of people were able to identify chocolate as one of the safest candies for your teeth and just over 1 in 5 (22.5%) of 18- to 24-year-olds were able to identify “gummy candy” as being the worst for your teeth. Meanwhile, 68.1% of those 65 and older successfully ranked sugarless candy as one of the safest options compared to only 39.5% of those who are 25-34 years old.


Get more stats here and here.

We encourage the sharing of these stats so you, too, can help us replace all sorts of dental misconceptions with truth.

Date Set for ‘Teethgiving’

In other Worth Saving holiday news, a date has been set for a day of giving in Boston. Called “Teeth Worth Saving Day” (or “Teethgiving”, unofficially), endodontics departments from all three Boston dental schools — Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine — have joined forces and each will be performing endodontic treatment to pre-screened patients in need at their campuses on November 18.

This past March, AAE launched a contest to spotlight four beautiful natural landmarks from around the country and have people vote on which one they felt was most worth saving. The Charles River Esplanade, preserved by the Esplanade Association, won a $20,000 donation from AAE, as well as $30,000 in free endodontic care from Boston-area dental schools for patients in need in the city of Boston.

It is estimated that the three schools combined will perform endodontic treatments on more than 60 patients, providing a combined total of well over the promised $30,000 worth of endodontic care. Patients are being pre-screened and scheduled in advance from community health clinics, and most treatments should be completed in one visit on that day.

Stay tuned for post-event coverage in the next edition of the Communiqué. Happy Teethgiving!