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Dental health by the state: 2024's best and worst

Feb. 1, 2024
The website WalletHub released its 2024 rankings of the states with the best and worst dental health, comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key indicators. Watch a short video.

An analysis on the states with the best and worst dental health for 2024 has deemed two states in the Midwest as first and second best, with the states ranked in the bottom predominantly in the Southeast.

The personal financial website WalletHub released its 2024 rankings of the states with the best and worst dental health, comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 25 key indicators or metrics of dental wellness, including the number of teens and adults who went to the dentist in the past year, dentists per capita, prevalence of different oral conditions, and more.

This year’s top-ranked state (ranked second in 2023) was Illinois, a determination made “in part because it has the lowest percentage of people who have frequently experienced pain or problems sleeping in the past year due to the condition of their mouth and teeth,” notes the study.

In second place was last year’s top-ranked state, Wisconsin, which has both the lowest percentage of people who’ve taken time off or had interruptions to their social lives due to dental issues.

Rounding out the top five are Idaho (3), Minnesota (4), and Michigan (5). The other states in the top 10 are Connecticut (6), North Dakota (8), Massachusetts (9), and Ohio (10). The District of Columbia is ranked 7th on the list.

Arkansas was at the bottom of the rankings (51, accounting for the District of Columbia). The other states ranking the lowest are Montana (47), Louisiana (48), West Virginia (49), and Mississippi (50).

See where your state ranks on the interactive map:

Source: WalletHub


Watch a short video clip on the results:

For its methodology, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, dental habits and health and oral health, examining those dimensions using the 25 metrics, which were given varying weights on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for dental health.

Some “best versus worst” information from a WalletHub press release on the results includes:

  • Rhode Island has the lowest share of the population who couldn’t afford more dental visits due to costs, which is two times lower than in Georgia, the state with the highest.
     
  • The District of Columbia has the most dentists per 100,000 residents, 4.1 times more than in Tennessee, which has the fewest.
     
  • The District of Columbia has the highest share of the population that gets fluoridated water, which is 11.8 times higher than in Hawaii, the state with the lowest.    
     
  • Minnesota, Hawaii, and Illinois have the lowest share of adults with poor or fair oral condition; Montana has with the highest.

Access the full study: States with the best & worst dental health (2024)