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Oral Health

Latest Data

Explore the latest data for the LHI topic Oral Health.
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Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
Over the past decade, the percentage of persons aged 2 years and over who had a dental visit in the past 12 months decreased slightly from 43.7 percent in 2001 to 41.8 percent in 2011 (age adjusted). The ability to access oral health care differs by sex, educational attainment, family income, race and ethnicity, age, disability status, geographic location, health insurance coverage, marital status, and obesity status.

Leading Health Indicators

Explore the latest data and disparities for each indicator.
Annual dental visits (OH-7)

Annual dental visits (OH-7)

  • A higher percentage of females (45.0%, age adjusted) than males (38.5%, age adjusted) aged 2 years and over had a dental visit in 2011.
    • When expressed as the proportion of persons without a dental visit in the past year, the percentage for males was nearly 12% higher than that for females.

Persons Without a Dental Visit by Sex, 2011

The rate for males age 2 and older was 12% higher than for females.

Data Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), AHRQ.

  • Persons aged 2 to 17 years had the highest percentage with a dental visit in 2011, 50.6% (age adjusted), among broad age groups. Percentages for the other broad age groups were:
    • 35.0% among persons aged 18-44 years.
    • 43.2% among persons aged 45-64 years.
    • 44.4% among persons aged 65 years and over.
  • When further refining the age groups, persons aged 12 to 17 years had the highest percentage with a dental visit in 2011, 55.2% (age adjusted). Percentages for the other age groups were:
    • 30.3% among persons aged 2-4 years.
    • 55.0% among persons aged 5-11 years.
    • 31.6% among persons aged 18-24 years.
    • 36.2% among persons aged 25-44 years.
    • 40.9% among persons aged 45-54 years.
    • 46.8% among persons aged 55-64 years.
    • 49.8% among persons aged 65-74 years.
    • 41.1% among persons aged 75-84 years.
    • 32.6% among persons aged 85 years and over.
  • Among education groups for persons aged 25 years and over, those who attended at least some college had the highest percentage with a dental visit in 2011, 54.6% (age adjusted). Percentages for other education groups were:
    • 16.8% among those with less than a high school education (lowest percentage).
    • 34.4% among those with a high school education or GED.
    • When expressed as adults aged 25 years and over without a dental visit in the past year, the rate for those with less than a high school education was nearly twice that of the population with at least some college education.

Persons Without a Dental Visit by Education, 2011

Among adults 25 and older without a dental visit in the past year, the rate for those with less than a high school education is nearly twice that for those with at least some college education in 2011.

Data Source: Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), AHRQ.

  • Among income groups, those with family incomes more than 400% of the poverty threshold had the highest percentage with a dental visit in 2011, 55.3% (age adjusted). Percentages for other income groups were:
    • 26.4% among those with family incomes less than the poverty threshold (lowest percentage).
    • 29.9% among those with family incomes between 100% and 199% of the poverty threshold.
    • 40.7% among those with family incomes between 200% and 399% of the poverty threshold.
    • When expressed as persons aged 2 years and over without a dental visit in the past year, the percentage for those with family incomes below the poverty threshold and between 100% and 199% of the poverty threshold was more than one and a half times that for those with family incomes more than 400% of the poverty threshold.
  • Among racial and ethnic groups for persons aged 2 years and over, persons in the white, non-Hispanic population had the highest percentage with a dental visit in 2011, 47.5% (age adjusted). Percentages for other racial and ethnic groups were:
    • 24.1% among the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander population (lowest percentage).
    • 29.7% among the Hispanic population.
    • 30.0% among the black, non-Hispanic population.
    • 36.6% among the American Indian or Alaska Native population.
    • 37.0% among the Asian population.
    • 42.9% among those who identify with 2 or more races.
    • When expressed as persons without a dental visit in the past year, percentages for all other racial and ethnic groups were 5% to 45% higher than that of the white, non-Hispanic population.
  • Among insurance groups, persons aged 2 to 64 years with private health insurance had the highest percentage with a dental visit in 2011, 49.5% (age adjusted). Those with public insurance and the uninsured had percentages of 27.8% and 17.9% (age adjusted), respectively.
    • When expressed as persons aged 2 to 64 years without a dental visit in the past year, the percentage for the uninsured population was more than one and a half times that for those with private health insurance. (Note that some, but not all, health insurance plans include dental coverage).
  • Among disability status groups, persons aged 2 years and over without activity limitations had a higher percentage with a dental visit in 2011 (43.1%, age adjusted) than those with activity limitations (36.9%, age adjusted).
    • When expressed as the proportion of persons without a dental visit in the past year, the percentage for people with activity limitations was 11% higher than that for those without activity limitations.
  • Persons aged 2 years and over living in metropolitan areas had a higher percentage with a dental visit in 2011 (42.9%, age adjusted) than those living in non-metropolitan areas (37.4%, age adjusted).
    • When expressed as the proportion of persons without a dental visit in the past year, the percentage for people living in non-metropolitan areas was nearly 10% higher than that for those living in metropolitan areas.
  • Among marital status groups, persons aged 18 years and over who were divorced or separated had the highest percentage with a dental visit in 2011, 43.6% (age adjusted). Those who were married, widowed, and never married had percentages of 36.4%, 33.6%, and 26.6% (age adjusted), respectively.
    • When expressed as persons aged 18 years and over without a dental visit in the past year, the percentage for those who were never married was almost one and a half times that for those who were separated or divorced.
  • Persons aged 20 years and over who were not obese had a higher percentage with a dental visit in 2011 (40.4%, age adjusted) than those who were obese (36.8%, age adjusted).
    • When expressed as the proportion of persons without a dental visit in the past year, the percentage for persons who were obese was 6% higher than that for those who were not obese.

Endnotes:

  • All disparities described are statistically significant at the 0.05 level of significance. To maintain comparability across indicators, disparities are computed using adverse events. Data (except those by educational attainment, health insurance coverage, marital status, obesity status, and age group) are age adjusted to the 2000 standard population using the age groups 2-17, 18-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74, and 75 years and over. Data by educational attainment are adjusted using the age groups 25-34, 35-44, 45-64, 65-74, and 75 years and over. Data by health insurance coverage are adjusted using the age groups 2-17, 18-44, 45-54, and 55-64. Data by marital status are adjusted using the age groups 18-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65-74, and 75 years and over. Data by obesity status are adjusted using the age groups 20-39, 40-59, and 60 years and over. Data by age group are not age adjusted. Age-adjusted rates are weighted sums of age-specific rates.
  • The terms “Hispanic or Latino” and “Hispanic” are used interchangeably in this report.
  • Data for this measure are available annually and come from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), AHRQ.

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