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Kristin Hohman serves as Associate Editor for DPR.
Where you live can be just as much of a factor in determining dental health as brushing, flossing, and routine checkups.
Location, location, location. It affects a multitude of things-real estate, businesses, and yes, even oral health.
Where you live can be just as much of a factor in determining dental health as brushing, flossing, and routine checkups. Certain parts of the U.S. have more dental professionals than others, as well as higher uses of fluoridated water supplies, according to the CDC.
WalletHub, the credit score calculating website, has taken this data to determine the states with the best and worst oral health. Using criteria across 26 indicators of dental wellness, the survey compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across a spectrum of ages.
The Midwest topped the charts, with three of the top five states (Wisconsin,1; Illinois, 2; Minnesota, 3), and nine in the top 20 states (North Dakota, 6; Michigan, 7; Iowa, 10; Ohio, 12; South Dakota, 16; Nebraska, 17).
The east coast followed, with the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts raking fourth, fifth, and eighth respectively. The west coast’s top entries were Washington (13), Hawaii (14), Oregon (19), and Arizona (20).
Surprisingly, populated states like New York (33) and California (40) did not fare as well. Southern states such as Kentucky (43), Alabama (46), and Mississippi (51) were ranked the lowest.
The survey also found that the highest percentage of adults who visited a dentist in the last year lived in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia.
The states with the most dentists per capita were Utah, District of Columbia, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Montana.
The survey also looked at beverage consumption, smoking habits, and quality of life. To see the full list of 2020 results and the report’s methodology, click here.