Many people dread visiting their dentist — let alone brushing and flossing once or twice a day. Some even fear seeing a dental professional, evident in the sheer number of websites, articles and support forums devoted to the topics of dental anxiety and phobia. Others simply can’t afford dental work.
Despite the hassle, expense and sometimes pain of maintaining them, a healthy set of chompers can go a long way. A brilliant smile is known to do wonders to a person’s self-esteem, and oral health tends to speak volumes about one’s general well-being.
But you won’t achieve a killer smile just by brushing and flossing. Where you live can directly affect your dental health, too — especially if you’re a woman. According to researchers at Columbia University, “women who resided in communities with fluoridated water during childhood earn approximately 4% more than women who did not,” adding that they found “no effect of fluoridation for men.” The loss of a tooth, on the other hand, can cost “an urban-residing woman earning $11/hour and working full time” approximately $720 in annual earnings. Besides that, oral diseases result in global productivity losses and treatment costs totaling an estimated $442 billion per year.
In order to determine which places boast the best teeth in the U.S., WalletHub’s data team compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 23 key indicators of dental health. Our data set ranges from “share of adolescents who visited a dentist in the past year” to “dental treatment costs” to “share of adults with low life satisfaction due to oral condition.” Read on for our findings, additional insight from dental experts and a full description of our methodology.
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