Oral Health Indicators

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National Analysis

Oral health is important to the overall health of an individual. Tracking and comparing oral health indicators is an integral component of a state’s public health strategy, as diseases and certain conditions related poor oral health—like tooth decay, periodontal or gum disease, and oral or pharyngeal cancer—are costly issues. Overall, national spending on dental services reached $108 billion in 2011.1

Dentist or dental clinic visits of adults age 18 and over during a one-year time span is an indicator used to track the oral health of the adult population.2

  • In 2010, 69.7 percent of American adults indicated that they had visited a dentist or dental clinic in the previous year.
  • Massachusetts and Connecticut topped the list for residents visiting the dentist, with 82 percent of adults visiting a dentist or dental clinic in the previous year. Minnesota placed third, with 79 percent of adults visiting the dentist that year.
  • Oklahoma had the lowest percentage of adults visiting an oral health professional in the previous year at 57 percent, followed by Mississippi and the Virgin Islands, each with 56 percent.

In general, women are more likely to have had a dental checkup than men, and whites are more likely to have had a checkup than minorities.3,4

  • Between 2006 and 2008, 34.2 percent of men did not have a dental checkup, compared to 28.8 percent of women. 
  • White men were more likely than minorities to have a dental checkup: 30.2 percent of white men did not have a dental checkup between 2006 and 2008, while 42 percent of minority males did not have such a checkup.
  • Between 2006 and 2008, 25.1 percent of non-Hispanic white women did not receive a dental checkup, while 36 percent of all minority women did not have a checkup during the same period.

Per capita spending on dental care varies by state, as does the percentage of total health expenditures spent on dental care.5

  • Nationally, per capita spending on dental care was $333 in 2009 and dental services made up 4.9 percent of total health care expenditures.
  • Residents in Mississippi ($223), Kentucky ($248) and Louisiana  ($251) spent the least on dental services on a per capita basis, while residents in Washington ($508), Alaska ($486) and New Hampshire ($458) spent the most.
  • In 2009, spending on dental services as a percent of total health expenditures was lowest in Mississippi at 3.4 percent, followed by Pennsylvania (3.6 percent) and Louisiana (3.7 percent). Spending was highest in Washington (7.5 percent), Idaho (6.9 percent) and Utah (6.8 percent). 

 

Regional Analysis:

  • Among the 11 states in the Eastern region, Maine had the lowest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the previous year—68.7 percent—followed by Pennsylvania at 72.3 percent.6
  • Massachusetts had the highest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the previous year at 81.7 percent, followed closely by Connecticut with 81.6 percent.7
  • On a regional basis, the states in CSG’s Western region spent the most per capita on dental services in 2009—$389—followed by the East, which spent $357 per capita. The Southern region spent the least at $287, followed by the Midwest at $328.8
  • Residents in the Eastern region spent the least on dental services as a percentage of total health expenditures—4.4 percent— while the Western region spent the most at 6.3 percent.9
  • Among the states in the Eastern region, Pennsylvania spent the least per capita on dental services in 2009—$279—followed by Rhode Island and Maine, each of which spent $327 per capita. New Hampshire spent the most per capita in the region at $458, followed by Connecticut at $448 and Massachusetts at $446.10
  • When evaluating spending on dental services as a percent of total health expenditures, Pennsylvania with 3.6 percent and Maine with 3.9 percent spent the least in the region, while New Hampshire at 5.8 percent and Vermont at 5.3 percent spent the most.11

  • Among the 11 states in the Midwestern region, Indiana had the lowest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the year prior at 68.8 percent, followed by Nebraska at 69.5 percent.6
  • Minnesota had the highest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the previous year at 78.9 percent, followed by Iowa with 76 percent.7
  • On a regional basis, the states in CSG’s Western region spent the most per capita on dental services in 2009—$389—followed by the East, which spent $357 per capita. The Southern region spent the least at $287, followed by the Midwest at $328.8
  • Residents in the Eastern region spent the least on dental services as a percentage of total health expenditures at 4.4 percent, while the Western region spent the most at 6.3 percent, followed by the Midwest at 4.7 percent.9
  • Among the states in the Midwestern region, residents in Nebraska spent the least per capita on dental services in 2009 at $287, followed by Indiana, which spent $290 per person. Minnesota spent the most per capita in the region at $388, followed by Wisconsin at $376 and North Dakota at $362.10
  • When evaluating spending on dental services as a percent of total health expenditures, Nebraska and Ohio—each with 4.1 percent— spent the least in the region. Michigan at 5.3 percent, and Minnesota and Wisconsin, each at 5.2 percent, spent the most.11

  • Among the 15 states in the Southern region, Oklahoma had the lowest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the previous year—57.2 percent—followed by Mississippi at 58.1 percent.6
  • Virginia had the highest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the previous year at 78.4 percent, followed by Georgia at 70.2 percent.7
  • On a regional basis, the states in CSG’s Western region spent the most per capita on dental services in 2009—$389—followed by the East, which spent $357 per capita. The Southern region spent the least at $287, followed by the Midwest at $328.8
  • Residents in the Eastern region spent the least on dental services as a percentage of total health expenditures at 4.4 percent, while the South spent slightly more at 4.5 percent. The Western region spent the most on dental services as a percent of health expenditures, 6.3 percent, followed by the Midwest at 4.7 percent.9
  • Among the states in the Southern region, residents in Mississippi spent the least per capita on dental services in 2009 at $223, followed by Kentucky, which spent $248. Virginia spent the most per capita in the region at $355, followed by North Carolina at $324 and Oklahoma at $316.10 
  • When evaluating spending on dental services as a percent of total health expenditures, Mississippi at 3.4 percent and West Virginia at 3.7 percent spent the least in the region, while Virginia at 5.7 percent and Georgia at 5.3 percent spent the most.11 

  • Among the 13 states in the Western region, Montana had the lowest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the previous year—61.1 percent—followed by Nevada at 67.2 percent.6
  • Utah had the highest percentage of adults who had visited a dentist in the previous year at 74.3 percent, followed by Hawaii with 72.6 percent.7
  • On a regional basis, the states in CSG’s Western region spent the most per capita on dental services in 2009—$389—followed by the East, which spent $357 per capita. The Southern region spent the least at $287.8
  • Residents in the Eastern region spent the least on dental services as a percentage of total health expenditures—4.4 percent— while the Western region spent the most, 6.3 percent.9
  • Among the states in the Western region, residents in Arizona spent the least per capita on dental services in 2009 at $300, followed by New Mexico, which spent $304. Washington spent the most per capita in the region at $508, followed by Alaska at $485 and Oregon at $407.10
  • When evaluating spending on dental services as a percent of total health expenditures, New Mexico at 4.6 percent and Montana at 4.9 percent spent the least in the region, while Washington at 7.5 percent and 6.9 percent spent the most.11 

Resources:

1 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “National Health Expenditures 2011 Highlights,” 2011. 

2 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Prevalence and Trends Data: Percentage of Adults Who Visited the Dentist or Dental Clinic within the Past Year, 2010." 

3 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Putting Men’s Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level,” 2006-2008.

4 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Putting Women’s Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level,” 2006-2008. 

5 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, "Health Expenditures by State of Residence," 2009. Author’s calculations of per capita estimates.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Prevalence and Trends Data: Percentage of Adults Who Visited the Dentist or Dental Clinic within the Past Year, 2010." 

7 Ibid

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “National Health Expenditures 2011 Highlights,” 2011. 

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

 

Oral Health Indicators