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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 older who had a dental visit in the past 12 months, decreased slightly from 44.5% in 2002 to 42.1% in 2012 (age adjusted). Access to 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)

  • Females aged 2 years and older had a higher percentage with a dental visit (45.2%, age adjusted) than males (39.0%) in 2012. The percentage for females was 16% higher than that for males.  

Persons Without a Dental Visit by Sex, 2012

 

Oral Health Web Graphic

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

  • Persons aged 2 to 17 years had the highest percentage with a dental visit (52.8%, age adjusted), among broad age groups in 2012. Percentages for the other age groups were:
    • 34.5% among persons aged 18–44 years
    • 43.6% among persons aged 45–64 years
    • 43.9% among persons aged 65 years and older
  • When further refining the age groups, persons aged 5 to 11 years had the highest percentage with a dental visit, 58.2% (age adjusted) in 2012. Percentages for the other age groups were:
    • 30.4% among persons aged 2–4 years
    • 57.4% among persons aged 12–17 years
    • 33.4% among persons aged 18–24 years
    • 34.9% among persons aged 25–44 years
    • 41.4% among persons aged 45–54 years
    • 47.0% among persons aged 55–64 years
    • 47.0% among persons aged 65–74 years
    • 44.2% among persons aged 75–84 years
    • 32.8% among persons aged 85 years and older
  • Among education groups for persons aged 25 years and older, those who attended at least some college had the highest percentage with a dental visit, 54.2% (age adjusted) in 2012. Percentages for other education groups were:
    • 18.2% among those with less than a high school education (lowest rate)
    • 34.3% among those with a high school education or GED
  • The rate for those with at least some college education was about 3 times that of the population with less than a high school education

Persons Without a Dental Visit by Education, 2012

 

Oral Health Web Graphic

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, 55.9% (age adjusted) in 2012. Percentages for other income groups were:
  • 27.0% among those with family incomes less than the poverty threshold (lowest rate)
  • 28.9% among those with family incomes between 100% and 199% of the poverty threshold
  • 41.5% among those with family incomes between 200% and 399% of the poverty threshold
  • The percentage for those with family incomes more than 400% of the poverty threshold was more than twice that for those with family incomes below the poverty threshold and nearly twice that for those with family incomes between 100% and 199% of the poverty threshold
  • Among racial and ethnic groups, the white, non-Hispanic population had the highest percentage, with 47.8% of persons aged 2 years and older (age adjusted) visiting a dentist in the past year in 2012.  Percentages for other racial and ethnic groups were:
    • 29.8% among the Hispanic population (lowest rate)
    • 30.3% among the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander population 
    • 30.3% among the black, non-Hispanic population
    • 36.5% among the American Indian or Alaska Native population 
    • 38.2% among the Asian population
    • 42.9% among those who identified as 2 or more races
  • Percentages for the white non-Hispanic population were 7% to 58%, higher than that of all other racial and ethnic groups  
  • In 2012, persons aged 2–64 years with private health insurance had the highest percentage with a dental visit (49.6%, age adjusted) among insurance groups. Those with public insurance and the uninsured had percentages of 29.8% and 21.2% (age adjusted), respectively. The percentage for those with private health insurance was nearly 2.5 times that for the uninsured population. (Note that some, but not all, health insurance plans include dental coverage.)
  • Among disability status groups in 2012, people without activity limitations aged 2 years and older had a higher percentage with a dental visit (43.5%, age adjusted) than those with activity limitations (37.0%). The percentage for people without activity limitations was 18% higher than that for those with activity limitations.  
  • In 2012, people living in metropolitan areas aged 2 years and older had a higher percentage with a dental visit (43.1%, age adjusted) than those living in non-metropolitan areas (38.1%). The percentage for people living in metropolitan areas was 13% higher than that for those living in non-metropolitan areas.  
  • In 2012, persons aged 18 years and older who were divorced or separated had the highest percentage with a dental visit (43.3%, age adjusted) among marital status groups. Those who were married, widowed, and never married had percentages of 35.7%, 34.9%, and 34.0% (age adjusted), respectively. The percentage for those who were separated or divorced was 27% higher than that for those who were never married.
  • In 2012, persons who were not obese aged 20 years and older had a higher percentage with a dental visit (40.4%, age adjusted) than those who were obese (35.4%). The percentage for persons who were not obese was 14% higher than that for those who were obese.  
 

OH-7 Notes:

  • All disparities described are statistically significant at the 0.05 level of significance. 
  • 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 older. Data by educational attainment are adjusted using the age groups 25–34, 35–44, 45–64, 65–74, and 75 years and older. Data by health insurance coverage are adjusted using the age groups 2–17, 18–44, 45–54, 55–64. Data by marital status are adjusted using the age groups 18–44, 45–54, 55–64, 65–74, 75 years and older. Data by obesity status are adjusted using the age groups 20–39, 40–59, 60 years and older. 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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