Oral Health America Analyzes the State of Dental Care of Older Adults

Source: DentistryIQ, By: DentistryIQ Editors

Oral Health America (OHA) published a national report examining factors impacting the oral health of older adults. With more than 72 million seniors living in the United States by 2030, OHA's A State of Decay, Vol. IV, illustrates progress in some areas and the need for continued action to ensure America's rapidly growing population of seniors age healthily and independently.

Top report findings include:

  • One-third (33%) of older adults have lost six or more teeth
  • 25 U.S. states received a poor overall score based on six key performance measures
  • Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut and Colorado all earned an "Excellent" Composite Score. Iowa and California made big improvements, jumping from 23rd and 30th, respectively, in 2016 to third and ninth in 2018
  • The states with the lowest overall scores are Wyoming, Delaware, West Virginia, New Jersey, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Tennessee, with Mississippi's score being the least favorable. Alabama improved from 50th in 2016 to 29th in 2018
  • Community water fluoridation (CWF) increased to a state average of 73%, a national increase of about 2.2 million people
  • Medicaid coverage of oral health benefits increased
  • Sociodemographic factors, such as income, race, gender and education play a critical role in oral health outcomes