As the healthcare debate continues across the country, access to oral care varies greatly—and with varied results. Personal-finance website WalletHub has compared all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia across 23 key metrics to determine the best and worst dental health in the nation.
WalletHub’s data set includes factors such as the share of adolescents who visited a dentist in the past year, dental treatment costs, and share of adults with low life satisfaction due to their oral condition. Data was collected from a variety of sources, including the US Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ADA, and Oral Health America.
Minnesota demonstrated the best oral health, followed by Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, the District of Columbia, Iowa, and Ohio. West Virginia came in last place, preceded by Alabama, Montana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alaska, Florida, and California. In other findings as follows:
- Rhode Island has the lowest percentage of its population who didn’t visit the dentist more frequently due to costs, among those without a visit in the past 12 months, at 37%, while Georgia leads the nation in this metric at 74%.
- Massachusetts has the most dentists per 100,000 residents, 51.75, or 3.4 times more than Tennessee’s rate of 15.39, which is the least.
- Connecticut has the lowest percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 who drank regular soda at least once per day during the 7 days before the survey, 11.9%, while Kentucky leads the nation at 32.4%.
- Utah has the lowest percentage of adult smokers, 9.0%, while West Virginia has the highest at 27.2%.
- The District of Columbia has the highest percentage of its population receiving fluoridated water through public water systems at 100.00%, while Hawaii has the lowest at 11.30%.
- Minnesota, Hawaii, and Illinois have the lowest percentage of adults with fair or poor oral condition, 22%, while Montana has the highest at 40%.
- Hawaii has the lowest percentage of adults age 65 years and older with no natural teeth, 6.5%, while West Virginia has the highest at 33.7%.
- Both Connecticut and Illinois have the lowest percentage of adults who have very often experienced pain in the past year due to their oral condition, 3%, while California had the highest at 14%.
- North Dakota has the lowest percentage of adults whose life in general is very often less satisfying due to their oral condition, 2%, while Texas has the highest at 14%.