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ADA Health Policy Institute Releases Comprehensive State-by-State Analysis of the U.S. Oral Health Care System

December 09, 2015

Contact Information:
Robert Raible
raibler@ada.org
202-789-5166

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Dental Association Health Policy Institute (HPI) today published a first-of-its-kind comprehensive report, “The Oral Health Care System: A State-by-State Analysis.” The report includes data on all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the nation as a whole.

Among the findings: 

Nationally,

  • The percentage of Medicaid enrolled children who visited a dentist within the past year increased from 29 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2013. As a result, the gap in dental care use between Medicaid enrolled children and children with private dental benefits narrowed significantly over this same timeframe in the vast majority of states.
  • The trend for adults differs dramatically from that for children.  Dental visits by adults with private dental benefits are declining in most states. (A separate HPI analysis shows that the gap in dental care use between Medicaid and privately insured adults is much wider than it is for children.)
  • 95 percent of adults say they value keeping their mouth healthy. Routine dental care is seen as a key part of overall wellness, with 93 percent of adults agreeing that regular visits to the dentist “help keep me healthy.” 
  • 50 percent of adults responded correctly to a set of general-knowledge questions about oral health.
  • The supply of dentists per capita increased from 57.3 dentists per 100,000 people in 2001 to 60.5/100,000 in 2013. Other HPI research suggests this trend is likely to continue through 2033.

Each state report includes the most current available information on:

  • Trends in dental care utilization (dental visits) for Medicaid-enrolled children, as well as for children and adults with private dental benefits;
  • Trends in the supply of dentists, including the percentage who participate in Medicaid;
  • Trends in reimbursement rates for dental care services in Medicaid and private dental benefit plans; and
  • Percentage of the population with access to optimally fluoridated drinking water (among people on community water systems).

Each state report also includes results from an innovative survey of nearly 15,000 U.S. adults, measuring their “dental IQ,” self-reported oral health status, and attitudes toward the importance and value of good oral health.

The report will be is available here:  www.ada.org/statefacts

HPI Vice President and Chief Economist Marko Vujicic is available for interviews.

 

About the Health Policy Institute

The Health Policy Institute (HPI) is a thought leader and trusted source for policy knowledge on critical issues affecting the U.S. dental care system. HPI produces innovative research for policymakers, oral health advocates, and dental care providers. HPI’s   interdisciplinary team of health economists, statisticians, and analysts has extensive expertise in health systems policy research. HPI staff routinely collaborates with researchers in academia and policy think tanks. For more information, visit ADA.org/hpi.

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 159,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org