It’s Every Kid Healthy Week, and oral health is key to overall health. Yet some states do a better job of supporting pediatric oral health than others, according to WalletHub’s 2017 Best & Worst States for Children’s Health Care, which compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 28 metrics on a 100-point scale each.
Iowa topped the overall list in terms of oral health, followed by West Virginia, Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and New Hampshire. Nevada was at the bottom of the list, preceded by California, Hawaii, Florida, New Jersey, Louisiana, Arkansas, Wyoming, Alabama, and New Mexico.
By the individual metrics, the report notes that Vermont has the highest percentage of children between the ages of one and 17 years with excellent or very good teeth, followed by New Hampshire, Maine and North Dakota (tie), and Massachusetts and South Dakota (tie). Nevada had the lowest share, preceded by New Mexico, California, Arizona, and Texas.
Vermont also has the highest share of children who have had both medical and dental preventive-care visits in the past 12 months at 81.4%, followed by Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia. Nevada had the lowest share of children who have had both medical and dental preventive-care visits in the previous year, at 56.0%.
And, Michigan has the highest share of dentists participating in Medicaid for child dental services at 91.7%. That’s 4.5 times more than Ohio, which had the lowest share of dentists participating in Medicaid for child dental services at 20.4%.
Other metrics related to oral health included the share of children aged zero to 17 years lacking access to fluoridated water; the presence of a state oral health plan; the presence of school-based dental sealant programs; dental treatment costs; the presence of a state mandate for dental-health screening; and dentists per capita.