A recent study ranked Missouri 30th in the nation for quality of dental health. “So what?” some of you will say. “That’s pretty close to average.” Sort of… it’s a 42nd percentile ranking, right on the lower-middle end of the bell curve.
But the study also highlighted other, more disturbing Missouri statistics. The black marks on our state report card included a tie ranking as one of the states with the lowest percentage of teenagers who had visited a dentist in the prior 12 months. We are also tied with Mississippi for the fourth-highest percentage of adult smokers.
By the Numbers
The study employed broad survey categories of Dental Habits & Care, and Oral Health. Within those, statistical responses to weighted survey questions determined overall state rankings. Areas that were measured and compared included:
- Demographic info – Dentists per capita, percentage of adult smokers, etc.
- Local Resources – water fluoridation and school-based dental programs
- Symptoms & Effects – percentage of population that reported dry mouth, oral pain, sleeping problems or work absence due to oral conditions
In looking at the broader data, there were interesting trends that emerged. Minnesota had the top ranking, and the Upper Midwest was the highest-rated region, with those states occupying 7 of the Top 10 slots. The South was the poorest-faring region in the survey, with 8 states in the bottom 10 – including our neighbor Arkansas, which logged the 4th-worst overall rating.
More Dental Health Data
Can’t get enough numbers? If you’re a stat-head who loves factoids and the trends behind them, you should definitely visit the resource pages on the websites of the American Dental Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.