According to a recent study, Alabama ranks 49th in over dental health and 51st in dental care.
The WalletHub study compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 25 key indicators of dental health and wellness. The two main categories used were dental health and care and oral health. The performance in the two categories was then combined to determine an overall ranking.
Only Arkansas and Mississippi followed behind Alabama in the overall ranking. For oral health, the state came in 44th place, with California, Alaska, Texas, Montana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and West Virginia following.
And who was named the country’s top state for dental health? Minnesota. Even though the state ranked well, officials are still continuing to work at improving proper access to dental care.
According to dentist Clay Reese, or Davis and Reese Dental Associates, claimed that poor dietary habits are to blame for Alabama’s high levels tooth decay. Additional factors include limited access to proper dental care.
With 99.7% of adults who responded to an AACD survey agreeing a healthy smile is socially important, it’s clear that good dental health is important in more than one way.
Reese said Alabamians can improve their dental health as well as their children’s by “…seeing the dentist at an early age to establish good oral hygiene habits.”
WalletHub senior writer Richer Bernardo explained that many people don’t like visiting the dentist, especially those with dental anxiety and phobia.
Other participants of the study explained that they can’t afford to go to the dentist, even though they want to. With less than one in four Americans having enough money saved up to cover at least six months of expenses in an emergency, many people can’t even afford a basic dental checkup. An average checkup can cost between $85 to $100, while a filling can cost about $300 and a crown over $1,000. With the high costs of dental care, dentists put an emphasis on the importance of prevention.
While proper brushing and flossing are contributing factors in determining dental health, they’re not the only ones. The area where someone lives can also impact their dental health. Those areas with a higher density of dental professionals often have better dental health. Additionally, the presence of fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. Unfortunately, not every American resident has access to this water. But according to the CDC, about 80% of public water will have the fluoride benefits by 2020.