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Which States Have the Best Oral Health in 2018


Dental care continues to vary depending on where you live, as has released its 2018 report of the states with the best and worst oral health. The advocacy group reports that Minnesota has the best oral health in the United States, followed by Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan. Arkansas has the worst oral health, preceded by Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ADA, the United States Census, and other sources, evaluated each state based on 20 different metrics including overall condition of mouth and teeth, pain due to oral health, adolescents with cavities, dentists per capita, smokers per capita, fluoridated water, Medicaid dental benefits, State Oral Health Plans, and the Oral Health Knowledge Index.

According to the report, one in four Americans lacks dental coverage, and this lack is part of the reason why dental insurance is perceived as the least affordable healthcare service. Also, two thirds of those who haven’t been to the dentist in a year cite expensive dental costs as the reason why. Meanwhile, 36% of Americans aren’t receiving preventive dental care. And while 77% of adults say they plan on visiting the dentist in the next year, only a third do so.

Massachusetts led the nation in the number of children who visited a dentist in the previous year, followed by New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont. Connecticut led in the number of adults who had visited a dentist, followed by Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, and Rhode Island. North Dakota came in last among children who had visited the dentist, and West Virginia was last for adults.

People who have access to fluoridated water have a better chance of avoiding tooth decay. However, 25% of Americans don’t live in areas where it is available. Kentucky led the nation in the percentage of residents receiving fluoridated water, with Minnesota, Illinois, North Dakota, and Maryland rounding out the top five. Hawaii was last, preceded by New Jersey, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

While tooth decay and other oral health problems are are generally preventable,  there’s a significant portion of the U.S. that isn’t receiving preventative care (36% according to the CDC), which leads to poor oral health, significant health risks (such as heart disease), and a lower quality of  life. Pacific dental group reminds that to keep good habits for your dental, and check with your dentist as least twice a year.

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