11 States with the Worst Dental Health

February 20, 2017
Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

This WalletHub ranking used 23 indicators to gauge and rank the level of oral health in each state. Some of those indicators included the share of adolescents who visited a dentist in the past year, the share of adults who visited a dentist in the past year, and the cost of dental treatments, among others. WalletHub used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Dental Association.

Access to oral health care has proven to be a problem in Alaska, contributing to the state's low ranking in this WalletHub analysis.

Want to see where your state stands in terms of dental health? Now you can — for 2017, WalletHub has ranked the best states for dental health. The report from WalletHub also included information about states with the worst dental health rankings in the country.

WalletHub used 23 key indicators of oral health to rank individual states and the District of Columbia, with each indicator assigned a corresponding value. Data for the rankings was collected from a variety of sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Census Bureau, and the American Dental Association.

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The metrics included in the rankings show states where there needs to be significant improvement in the availability and utilization of dental care providers and services. States could accumulate up to 100 points, and the higher the number, the better the ranking the state received. Metrics were based on a state’s score for various indicators, including “share of adults who visited a dentist in the past year,” “presence of state oral health plan” and “poor or fair oral condition.”

Click the next page to see the worst state rankings, starting with number 41.

41. Tennessee

· The state received low marks for having the fewest dentists per capita.

· Tennessee also has one of the highest percentages of elderly adults with no natural teeth.

42. California

· The state has a high percentage of adults who experienced pain in the past year due to an oral condition.

43. Florida

· Florida is included among five states who saw the lowest percentage of adolescents who visited a dentist in the past year.

· WalletHub also gave the state poor marks due to its high percentage of adults with a poor or fair oral health condition.

44. Alaska

· A high percentage of adults with a poor or fair oral health condition was reported in the state.

· Alaska also has a high percentage of adults who experienced pain in the last year due to an oral health condition.

45. Texas

· According to America’s Health Rankings, there are only 51.9 dentists for every 100,000 people in the state.

· Texas is among five states with the lowest percentage of adults who visited a dentist within the past year.

46. Louisiana

· There is a high percentage of adults in Louisiana who report low life satisfaction due to an oral condition.

· Louisiana is also included in the five states with the fewest dentists per capita.

Source: Alstarecho via Wikimedia Commons

47. Mississippi

· Less than 59.8 percent of adults reported visiting a dentist in the past year, according to America’s Health Rankings.

· WalletHub also reports that adolescents in Mississippi are among the top consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages in the country.

Source: Linda Tanner via Wikimedia Commons

48. Arkansas

· Adolescents in Arkansas rank at the top of the list for the most sugar-sweetened beverages consumed.

· The state also has one of the highest percentages of adult smokers in the country.

49. Montana

· According to WalletHub, Montana has one of the highest percentages of adults with a poor or fair oral health condition.

· The state also reports high numbers of adults who experienced pain in the last year due to their oral health condition.

50. Alabama

· There are only 43.8 dentists for every 100,000 people in the state, according to America’s Health Rankings.

51. West Virginia

· The state received the lowest marks for a variety of metrics, including fewest dentists per capita, lowest percentage of adults who visited a dentist within the past year, highest percentage of elderly people with no natural teeth, highest percentage of adult smokers, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adolescents, and highest percentage of adults with low life satisfaction due to an oral health condition.