Dental Statistics and Research

These resources provide a clear picture of oral health and coverage in Virginia, compared to other states. Virginia communities and dental providers may find this information helpful in designing effective oral health programs and solutions.

Virginia Dental Highlights:

  • 3.2 million Virginians have no dental insurance.
  • 67 Virginia localities have no dental safety net provider.
  • Although 66 Virginia localities now have a community dental provider, in many cases it’s only offered on a part-time basis.
Virginia’s Safety Net — Progress is Evident, Yet Overwhelming Need Remains in Virginia,” an article in the summer 2019 Virginia Dental Journal, fully details the challenges and gaps in dental access in Virginia.  The article not only describes the current status of access to dental care, or lack thereof, in Virginia, but also gives concise “how to” information for dental providers on how they can help.

Quick Statistics: Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General

  • There are clear links between chronic oral infections and other health problems including diabetes, heart disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  • People with periodontal disease are 1.5-to-2 times more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack and nearly three times more likely to suffer a stroke.
  • Even though dental caries (tooth decay) is largely preventable, it remains the most common chronic disease of children aged 5 to 17 years — four times more common than asthma.
  • For every child without medical insurance there are 2.6 children without dental insurance.
  • Dental disease results in 250,000 lost school hours each year.
  • Chronic oral infections can foster the development of clogged arteries and blood clots.
  • Periodontitis can make diabetes worse.  Diabetic patients with severe periodontitis have greater difficulty maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
  • A thorough oral examination can detect tooth decay as well as signs of nutritional deficiencies, systemic diseases, immune disorders, injuries and some cancers.
  • Oral health is integral to general health.

Oral Health:

Oral Health of Children: Portrait of the Nation/Virginia This 2012 dataset reports nationwide and state-level “percent of children who received preventive dental care in the past 12 months” as well as “percent of children with teeth in excellent or very good condition.” Such statistics are broken up by age, poverty level, ethnicity, and gender.

The Children’s Dental Health Project has an extensive database of national and state-specific media reports on children’s oral health and dental care.

State Of Decay: Are Older Americans Coming of Age Without Oral Healthcare? This report by Oral Health America details the lack of oral health services for older Americans by evaluating all 50 states on the following indicators: access to adult Medicaid benefit, edentulism, current state oral health plan with a goal promoting older adult oral health, dental health professional shortage areas, and community water fluoridation.

Joint Commission on Health Care Study on the Cost of Untreated Dental Disease in the Commonwealth An overview of the Joint Commission on Health Care’s study on the fiscal impact of untreated dental disease in Virginia.

Virginia Dept. of Health: Division of Health Statistics

National Center for Health Statistics

Virginia Free & Reduced Lunch Demographic Info

Dental Coverage:

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) by state and county The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration determines which localities, demographics, or facilities are lacking in primary medical care, dental, or mental health providers.

State oral health data from the Virginia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey.  The BRFSS is a national telephone health survey conducted by state health departments.

Other states:

Study of Oregon Emergency Department Dental Visits

National Rural Health Association Policy Brief: Rural America’s Oral Health Care NeedsThis policy brief highlights the current oral health status and trends in rural America and includes recommendations for meeting America’s rural oral health needs.

Last Updated on January 24, 2020