How do you think your state would stack up against the rest of America in a dental hygiene contest? Well, the
American Dental Association (ADA) recently released a report that can tell us exactly where each state ranks in a number of categories related to oral health. The report, which you can read here in full, measured a number of different oral health statistics to make their determination, including dental care utilization, oral health status, oral health knowledge and oral health attitude.
So which states are pearly white, and which ones need a date with the dentist? Here are the 3 best and worst ranked states in each category:
Dental Care Utilization
In this category, researchers used a database of more than 7 million people ages 21 through 64 to find the percentage of adults in each state who had made at least one visit to the dentist in the last 12 months. Here’s what they found:
The top performer in this category was Oregon, where 69% of adults had recently received some sort of dental care. Massachusetts, Michigan and Connecticut all tied for second with a respectable 68%, while New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Washington State tied for third at 67%.
In 48th place is Louisiana, with a 47% dental care utilization record. Mississippi sits just below them with 45%, while the dubious honor of last place goes to the Aloha state, with just 41% of Hawaiians claiming to have visited a dentist in the last year.
National Average: 59%
Oral Health Status
This category measured, on a scale of 1-10, the general oral health of adults ages 18 and older across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The state with the cleanest bill of oral health according to the ADA is Illinois, which scored 8.6 out of 10, followed closely by Connecticut and Minnesota, who both scored an 8.3. Ohio, Michigan and Massachusetts round out the top three with a shared score of 8.2.
In this category, even the states at bottom of the list had surprisingly strong scores. Montana came in 48th with a score of 7.4, while a 7.3 earned Arkansas the second to last place title. Alaska sits in 50th place, with a score of 7.2.
National Average: 7.9
Oral Health Knowledge
To gather data in this category, residents of each state were asked to answer a selection of general knowledge questions related to oral health. The percentage points in each state corresponds to the number of residents that were able to correctly answer every question on the survey.
With 60% of people returning perfect scores, it turns out that Colorado residents are a bunch of smarty-pants’ when it comes to dental health. Sticking with the southwest theme, Arizona and New Mexico share the no. 2 spot with 59%, while South Dakota and West Virginia come in third at 58%.
Kansas and Indiana both scored a 45% to take the 48th spot. Right below them we have a four-way tie for 49th place with Maryland, Hawaii, Louisiana and the District of Columbia each scoring 43% on the national oral health quiz. And all alone at the bottom sits New Jersey at 42%.
National Average: 50%
Oral Health Attitude
The last category on our list measured how people in each state feel about visiting the dentist and oral health in general. This data is measured on a scale of –10 to +10, with negative values indicating poor attitudes toward oral health, zero indicating a neutral attitude, and positive values indicating a favorable outlook on oral health.
The Grand Canyon state came out on top in this category, with Arizona residents reporting a 5.7 on the oral health attitude scale. Virginia trails right behind them with a 5.6, and Michigan came in with a 5.5 attitude rating to round out the top three.
Oregon’s score of 4.5 indicates that the Beaver State doesn’t have a very favorable view on oral health even though they top the list when it comes to actually visiting the dentist. South Dakota and Mississippi took an even dimmer view on the dentist with a shared score of 4.4, while Montana’s 4.3 puts the Treasure State in 50th place.
National Average: 5.1
So what did we learn from this report overall? Well it’s mostly good news. The report indicates that on the whole, Americans really value dentistry and oral health in general, with 95% of adults in the U.S. saying that they value keeping their mouths healthy. We also learned that Michigan, while never topping any of the lists mentioned above, was consistently in or near the top ten across all categories, making them a strong contender for best oral health all around.
When it comes to dental care in Florida, we stayed pretty much level with the rest of the country. At Enchanting Dentistry, it’s our goal to help all of our patients rank among the top best when it comes to oral hygiene. Call us today at 954-DENTIST(336-8478) to schedule a free consultation today!