Source: https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/dental_provider/state/IN Last accessed 6/29/2022
Dental Care Providers
U.S. Value: 62.3
Healthiest State: Alaska: 92.0
Least-healthy State: Delaware: 39.6
Definition: Number of general dentists and advanced practice dental therapists per 100,000 population
Data Source & Year(s): U.S. HHS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Plan and Provider Enumeration System, September 2021
Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of U.S. HHS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Plan and Provider Enumeration System, United Health Foundation, AmericasHealthRankings.org, accessed 2022.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
Oral health provides a window into general health. Many underlying health conditions, such as eating disorders, diabetes and immune disorders, have close connections to oral health. Dentists diagnose oral diseases, create treatment plans, promote oral health and disease prevention, perform surgical procedures and manage oral trauma.
Oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease are associated with diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Despite projections of steady growth in the number of working dentists, the Health Resources and Services Administration has identified many areas and populations that have an inadequate supply of dentists to meet current or future needs.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
Some of the most significant oral health disparities are in rural communities. Disparities in oral health care contribute to higher rates of dental caries and edentulism (toothlessness) in rural populations compared with urban populations. Contributing factors to these disparities include:
- An inadequate supply of dentists.
- Higher uninsurance rates and fewer dentists accepting Medicaid patients.
- Patient difficulty in traveling to a dentist.
- Lack of a fluoridated community water supply.
- A growing population of older adults.
Healthy People 2030 has multiple objectives related to oral health, including increasing the use of the oral health care system and reducing the proportion of people who can’t get the dental care they need when they need it.