Dental Health Ranked by State

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 National dental provider Express Dentist has ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on their dental health. The comprehensive study examined 25 indicators of dental health, including percentage of adults who visit the dentist and number of dentists per 100,000 people. 

Connecticut has the best dental health, followed by the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New Jersey. Among other factors, residents in these states report lower levels of dental pain in the last 12 months than those elsewhere in the United States. 

Arkansas has the worst dental health, followed by West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. These states have higher numbers of residents taking days off work for dental pain, which suggests that poor dental health can have a direct impact on economic productivity.

States with best dental health 

States with worst dental health 

1. Connecticut 

42. Kentucky 

2. District of Columbia 

43. Maine 

3. Massachusetts 

44. Montana 

4. Hawaii 

45. Alabama 

5. New Jersey 

46. Alaska 

6. Illinois 

47. Texas 

7. Washington 

48. Mississippi 

8. Iowa 

49. Louisiana 

9. Michigan 

50. West Virginia 

10. Ohio 

51. Arkansas 

 Some parts of the United States have a higher density of dental professionals, which makes not only access to dental care easier but also more affordable. Another locational factor that affects the health of your teeth is the availability of fluoridated water which is important to prevent tooth decay. While some states provide fluoridated water to nearly all residents, others lag behind. Coverage for dental care also varies from state to state with some states providing no coverage under Medicaid and others providing limited, emergency, or extensive coverage.

Then there are habitual trends as well. In some US states, a large percentage of people state they avoid visiting the dentist because they are afraid. Some states have a large percentage of people who understand the importance of preventive dental care, while others lag behind.

Given that many people have been hesitant to visit the dentist for routine care during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more important than ever to understand what your geographical location could mean for the health of your teeth and gums. In order to find out which states in the US are the best and worst in terms of oral health, Express Dentist compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia using 25 key metrics, ranging from availability of care to costs to habits. Here’s what we found… the best and worst states in terms of oral health in the US.

Table of Contents

State Rankings

  Rank Total score out of 100 Number of dentists per 100,000 people Employment level in dentists Percentage of all adults who reported visiting a dentist in the past year Percentage of young adults (ages 18-44) who visited a dentist in the past year Percentage of adults aged 65 or older who reported having all teeth removed due to decay or gum disease Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits Water Fluoridation Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the past 12 months – Cost Percentage of adults who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke daily or some days Percentage of children ages 1-17 who had one or more preventive dental care visits in the past 12 months  Poor overall condition of mouth and teeth among all income levels Poor overall condition of mouth and teeth among low income level Very good overall condition of mouth and teeth among all income levels Life in general is very often less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income levels Life in general is very often less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among low-income level Life in general is never less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among high-income level Appearance of mouth and teeth affect ability to interview for a job among all income levels Appearance of mouth and teeth affect ability to interview for a job among low-income level Experienced dry mouth very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups Experienced difficulty biting/chewing very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups Experienced pain very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups Took days off very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups Strongly agree with I need to see the dentist twice a year among all income groups Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the last 12 months – Trouble finding a dentist Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the last 12 months – Afraid of dentist
Connecticut 1 86 4 2 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 3 4 3 3 4 3
District of Columbia 2 82 4 3 3 4 3 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 2 4 4 1 4 3 4 4 4 3 2 2 3
Massachusetts 3 79 4 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 4 2 3 4 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 2
Hawaii 4 78 4 2 4 3 4 2 1 4 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 2 4 2 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
New Jersey 5 77 4 4 3 2 4 4 1 4 3 3 4 3 3 4 3 3 3 1 4 3 3 4 2 2 3
Illinois 6 76 3 4 2 2 3 4 4 2 3 2 3 2 4 4 2 4 4 2 4 4 4 4 2 1 3
Washington 7 76 4 4 2 2 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 2 4 4 3 3 2 4 4 2 2 2
Iowa 8 74 2 2 3 2 3 4 4 4 2 3 4 4 2 4 2 2 4 4 1 3 4 3 2 3 3
Michigan 9 74 2 4 3 2 3 3 4 3 2 2 3 2 3 4 2 4 4 4 3 3 3 4 3 2 2
Ohio 10 74 2 4 2 2 2 4 4 3 1 1 4 4 3 4 3 3 4 3 4 3 4 4 3 1 2
Minnesota 11 72 2 3 3 3 4 3 4 3 3 2 3 3 2 4 2 3 4 3 4 3 3 3 2 1 2
New York 12 72 4 4 2 2 3 4 3 4 3 2 4 3 2 3 3 2 4 4 3 2 3 2 2 1 3
North Dakota 13 71 2 1 2 2 3 4 4 2 2 1 3 3 2 4 4 3 4 3 3 3 4 4 2 3 3
Wisconsin 14 71 2 3 3 2 3 4 4 3 2 2 3 1 3 4 2 4 4 2 4 3 3 4 2 1 3
Rhode Island 15 70 2 1 3 2 3 4 4 4 3 2 4 3 2 4 2 2 3 4 3 3 3 4 2 1 2
Maryland 16 69 4 3 2 1 3 1 4 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 2 4 4 3 3 2 3 2 3 3 2
Nebraska 17 69 3 1 2 1 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 2 4 4 3 4 2 3 1 2 4 2
Pennsylvania 18 69 2 4 2 2 2 3 3 2 2 2 4 2 3 4 2 4 3 3 3 4 3 4 3 2 1
Colorado 19 68 3 3 2 1 4 4 3 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 4 4 3 2 3 1 2 2 2
North Carolina 20 68 2 4 2 2 2 4 4 1 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3 4 2 3 2 3 3 3 2 4
Utah  21 68 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 4 3 4 1 2 1 2 3 3
Vermont 22 68 2 1 3 3 2 3 3 3 2 3 4 2 3 4 2 3 4 3 3 2 3 2 3 2 3
Idaho 23 67 2 2 2 1 3 4 2 2 2 3 4 3 3 4 3 1 3 2 4 3 3 4 2 2 3
South Dakota 24 67 2 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 2 2 3 2 2 4 3 1 3 3 4 3 4 3 1 3 3
Virginia 25 67 3 4 3 2 3 2 4 2 3 2 3 1 3 4 3 2 4 2 3 2 2 3 3 1 3
Georgia 26 66 1 4 1 1 2 2 4 1 2 2 3 1 2 4 3 3 4 4 4 2 3 4 2 4 3
Indiana 27 65 1 3 1 1 2 3 4 4 2 2 3 2 3 4 2 2 4 2 4 3 3 4 2 2 2
Kansas 28 65 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 1 2 4 2 3 4 3 2 2 3 3 3 4 3
Missouri 29 65 2 3 1 1 2 3 4 2 2 1 2 1 2 4 2 4 4 4 4 3 3 4 2 2 3
New Mexico 30 65 2 2 2 1 2 4 4 3 2 2 4 2 2 4 3 2 3 3 4 3 3 1 3 2 2
Oregon 31 65 3 3 2 1 3 4 2 3 3 2 3 2 2 3 3 3 2 1 4 2 3 4 2 3 2
Arizona 32 64 2 3 1 1 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 1 2 4 1 4 4 2 3 3 3 4 4 1 3
California 33 64 4 4 2 1 4 4 3 2 4 2 4 2 2 4 3 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 3 3 4
Nevada 34 63 2 2 1 1 3 2 4 3 2 1 3 3 2 3 3 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 3 2 3
South Carolina 35 63 1 3 1 1 2 3 4 2 2 3 1 1 2 4 2 3 4 3 4 3 3 2 3 3 3
Florida 36 62 2 4 2 1 3 2 4 3 3 1 3 1 2 3 1 4 2 2 3 1 3 4 3 3 2
New Hampshire 37 61 3 1 2 1 3 2 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 4 3 3 4 3 2 3 2 1 2 2 2
Tennessee 38 59 1 2 1 1 1 1 4 2 2 1 4 2 2 4 3 1 4 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 3
Oklahoma 39 58 1 3 1 1 1 2 3 2 2 2 4 2 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 3
Wyoming 40 58 2 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 2 3 2 2 3 2 3 3 1 3 1 1 3 3
Delaware 41 57 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 3 2 2 3 2 2 4 2 2 2 1 3 3 3 2 3 2 3
Kentucky 42 57 2 2 1 1 1 3 4 3 1 2 3 1 2 4 1 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 3
Maine 43 57 2 1 2 1 2 2 4 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 3 2 3 2 2 2 3 4 3 2 3
Montana 44 56 3 1 2 1 3 4 2 3 2 3 1 1 2 2 2 1 3 2 3 1 2 4 2 3 3
Alabama 45 55 1 3 1 1 2 1 4 2 1 2 3 2 2 3 2 2 4 2 2 1 2 2 3 4 3
Alaska 46 55 4 1 2 3 2 2 2 3 2 2 4 3 2 2 4 1 1 2 3 2 2 1 2 1 2
Texas 47 53 2 4 1 1 3 2 3 2 3 2 3 1 2 1 1 1 3 3 3 2 3 1 2 1 3
Mississippi 48 51 1 2 1 1 1 3 3 3 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 3 2 2 2 2 3 3 3
Louisiana 49 46 1 2 1 1 2 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 2 2 2 3 2 3 4 2
West Virginia 50 45 1 1 1 1 1 2 4 3 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 3 2 3 2 1 2 2 2 1 4
Arkansas 51 42 1 2 1 1 1 3 4 1 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 3 1 2 2 3

Top 5 States with the BEST/WORST Dental Health

Percentage of Adults with a Dental Visit in the Past Year:

Percentage of Children with Preventive Dental Care:

Water Fluoridation:

Smokers:

Percentage of People who Cited “Trouble Finding a Dentist” as a Reason for Not Getting Dental Care:

Percentage of older adults (65+) with all teeth removed due to decay or gum disease:

Percentage of People who Cited “Cost” as a Reason for Not Getting Dental Care:

Dissatisfied with Life Due to Oral Health:

Poor Overall Condition of Mouth and Teeth:

Indicators

Each indicator from the list of 25 is worth 4 points for a maximum total score of 100. We’ve included data not only from all income levels combined but also low-income levels, so that states that provide good dental care for all their citizens gain points in the league table. We’ve also included state-controlled indicators like dental benefits for Medicaid enrollees and water fluoridation. On the individual level, key indicators of dental habits include the percentage of all adults who visited a dentist, dentist visits by young adults, and preventive dental visits in children.

Availability of Dental Care

6 indicators

Dental Habits

6 indicators

Oral Health Status

13 indicators

Methodology

4 point
3 point
2 point
1 point
Number of dentists per 100,000 people
Over 70
60-70
50-60
Less than 50
Emplayment levels in dentists
2390-12040
1230-2190
470-1130
100-420
Percentage of adults who reported visiting a dentist in the past year
Over 75%
70-75%
65-70%
Less than 65%
Percentage of young adults (ages 18 to 44) who reported visiting a dentist in the past year
Over 75%
70-75%
65-70%
Less than 65
Percentage of adults aged 65 or older who reported having all teeth removed due to decay or gum disease
Less than 10%
10-15%
15-20%
Over 20%
Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits
Extensive
Limited
Emergency
None
Water Fluoridation
Over 75%
50-75%
25-50%
Less than 25%
Reason for not visiting the dentist among those without a visit in the past 12 months – Cost
Less than 50%
51-60%
61-70%
71% or more
Percentage of adults who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke daily or some days
Less than 10%
10-15%
15-20%
More than 20%
Percentage of children ages 1-17 who had one or more preventive dental care visits in the past 12 months
More than 85%
80-85%
75-80%
Less than 75%
Poor overall condition of mouth and teeth among all income levels
Less than 7%
8-10%
11-13%
Over 13%
Poor overall condition of mouth and teeth among low-income level
Less than 9%
10-15%
16-20%
Over 21%
Very good overall condition of mouth and teeth among all income levels
45% or more
33-44%
21-32%
20% or less
Life in general is very often less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income levels
7% or less
8-9%
10-11%
12% or more
Life in general is very often less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among low income levels
5% or less
6-11%
12-17%
18% or more
Life in general is never less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among high-income level
61% or more
51-60%
41-50%
40% or less
Appearance of mouth and teeth affects ability to interview for a job among all income levels
61% or more
51-60%
41-50%
40% or less
Appearance of mouth and teeth affects ability to interview for a job among low-income level
20% or less
21-30%
31-40%
41% or more
Experienced dry mouth very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups
10% or less
11-14%
15-18%
19% or more
Experienced difficulty biting/chewing very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups
6% or less
7-10%
15-14%
15% or more
Experienced pain very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups
5% or less
6-9%
10-13%
14% or more
Took days off very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups
0-1%
2%
3%
4% or more
Strongly agree with I need to see the dentist twice a year among all income groups
71% or more
61-70%
51-60%
50% or less
Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the last 12 months – Trouble finding a dentist
8% or less
9-13%
14-18%
19% or more
Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the last 12 months – Afraid of dentist
15% or less
16-25%
26-35%
36% or more

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References

  1. Number of Dentists per 100,000 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK569311/table/ch3.tab42/
  2. Employment levels in dentists https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291021.htm#st
  3. Percentage of adults who reported visiting a dentist in the past year https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/dental/state/ALL
  4. Percentage of young adults (ages 18 to 44) who reported visiting a dentist in the past year https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/dental/population/dental_visit_18_44/state/ALL
  5. Percentage of adults aged 65 or older who reported having all teeth removed due to decay or gum disease https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/senior/measure/teeth_extractions_sr/state/ALL
  6. Medicaid Adult Dental Benefits https://www.chcs.org/media/Medicaid-Adult-Dental-Benefits-Overview-Appendix_091519.pdf
  7. Water fluoridation https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/health-of-women-and-children/measure/water_fluoridation/state/ALL
  8. Percentage of adults who reported in the past 12 months needing care but who avoided care due to cost https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/costburden/state/ALL
  9. Percentage of adults who reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke daily or some days https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/Smoking/state/ALL
  10. Percentage of children ages 1-17 who had one or more preventive dental care visits in the past 12 months https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/health-of-women-and-children/measure/prev_dent_care/state/ALL
  11. Poor overall condition of mouth and teeth in all income levels https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  12. Poor overall condition of mouth and teeth in low-income level https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  13. Very good overall condition of mouth and teeth in all income levels https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  14. Life in general is very often less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income levels https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  15. Life in general is very often less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among low-income level https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  16. Life in general is never less satisfying due to condition of mouth and teeth among high-income level https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  17. Appearance of mouth and teeth affects ability to interview for a job among all income levels https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  18. Appearance of mouth and teeth affects ability to interview for a job among low-income level https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  19. Experienced dry mouth very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  20. Experienced difficulty biting/chewing very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  21. Experience pain very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  22. Experienced pain very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  23. Took days off very often in the last 12 months due to condition of mouth and teeth among all income groups https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  24. Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the last 12 months – Trouble finding a dentist https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx
  25. Reason for not visiting a dentist among those without a visit in the last 12 months – Afraid of dentist https://www.ada.org/-/media/project/ada-organization/ada/ada-org/files/resources/research/hpi/oral-health-well-being-data-tables.xlsx