A new report from Oral Health America (OHA) shines light on the state of dental care for older Americans. The report ranked each of the 50 states based on aggregate data collected from state dental directors and publicly available sources. Adult dental Medicaid coverage, community water fluoridation, dental visits, severe tooth loss, and basic screenings were used as metrics to rank the states. The states ranked best in oral hygiene for older adults are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut, and Colorado. The worst are Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Key findings from the report reveal that 1/3 of adults age 65 and older have lost six or more teeth, community water fluoridation increased from a state average of 71.9% in 2016 to 72.6% in 2018, and fifteen states have 90% or more of their population receiving fluoridated water.
While levels of water fluoridation in the United States continue to improve, many states lack basic dental coverage for adults on Medicaid. Only 31 states reimburse for periodic oral evaluation and a low 23 provide coverage for periodontal maintenance.
Impact on General Dentistry: The AGD is committed to helping general dentists in delivering quality dental care to patients of all ages and to advocating for optimal oral health.