Dental Health in the U.S. for 2022: Stats, Facts, and Challenges

The dental landscape in the United States is a diverse and ever-evolving field, with challenges and triumphs. As of 2022, we delve into the intriguing world of dental health, where oral hygiene habits, access to care, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shape a vital part of American lives.

Dental Statistics for Oral Health in the U.S.

When it comes to oral health, here are some numbers that might catch you by surprise:

  • Planned Dental Visits: Approximately 75% of American adults plan to visit a dentist in the coming year, and 65% of adults aged 18 and over had a dental visit within the past year.
  • Oral Health Impact: A staggering 87% of people say that poor oral health negatively affects their life, emphasizing the importance of regular dental care.
  • Oral Health Awareness: Over 90% of Americans understand the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth by seeing a dentist regularly. Notably, 7 out of 10 Americans brush their teeth twice a day, but 23% admit to occasionally skipping brushing.
  • Flossing Habits: One-third of Americans floss daily, one-third floss occasionally, and one-third never floss. 20% of people floss only when they have food stuck in their teeth, and individuals from low-income groups are more likely to skip flossing.
  • Halitosis Worries: Approximately 30% of Americans worry about halitosis, or bad breath.
  • Oral Health Knowledge: Only 1 out of 2 people in the U.S. have a solid understanding of oral health, correctly answering 8 questions on an oral health test.

U.S. Dental Health Statistics by Age and Gender


Children and Adolescents

  • Early Dental Advice: Half of children aged 2-17 years receive advice from their healthcare provider about the need for a dental visit.
  • Dental Visits: Around 64% of children aged 2-4 years, 92% of children aged 5-11 years, and 90% of adolescents aged 12-17 years have had dental visits in the past year.
  • School Hours Lost: Kids miss more than 50 million hours of school each year due to dental problems.
  • Early Dental Visits: A child’s first dental visit at 4 years or younger can save parents an average of $360 over 8 years.
  • Tooth Decay in Children: Alarmingly, 4 out of 10 American children have tooth decay before starting kindergarten.

Young Adults and Middle-Aged Adults

  • Tooth Decay: Shockingly, 1 in 4 adults aged 20-44 has untreated dental caries.
  • Tooth Brushing: 37% of adults aged 18-24 admit to skipping brushing their teeth for two or more days.
  • Dental Visits: 64% of people aged 18-44, 68% of those aged 45-64, and 63% of people aged 65 and older report a dental visit in the past year.

Older Adults

  • Edentulous Cases: 20% of older adults have lost all their teeth.
  • Gum Disease: Two-thirds of older adults suffer from gum disease.
  • Cavities in Elders: A whopping 96% of adults over the age of 65 have had cavities.

Gender Disparities

  • Dental Visits: 69% of males report a dental visit in the past year versus 63% of females.
  • Oral Health Issues: Men are more likely to develop gum diseases (56%) than women (38%). In contrast, women are at a higher risk of dental caries (92%) versus men (90%).
  • Dental Hygiene Habits: Women floss more often, are more embarrassed by tooth loss, more likely to receive professional dental care, and exhibit greater awareness about oral health than men.

Dental Facts and Figures by State

Dental statistics also vary from state to state:

  • Dental Visits: Connecticut ranks as the healthiest state, with over 76% of its residents reporting a past-year dental visit. Mississippi, with only around 54% of people visiting the dentist in the past year, ranks as the least healthy state.
  • Dental Coverage: Dental coverage is highest in the New England area and lowest in the South-Eastern and South-Central United States.
  • Dental Care Costs: Roughly 30% of people with dental coverage in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma have not seen a dentist in the past year. In contrast, only 14% of people with dental coverage in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have not had a past-year dental visit.
  • Ideal Oral Health: On a 10-point scale, Illinois scores the highest at 8.6, while Alaska scores the lowest at 7.2, as per the American Dental Association’s standards.

Dental Diseases in the U.S.

Dental health statistics reveal the prevalence of dental diseases:

  • Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Over 80% of people have at least one cavity by age 34, and about 40-50% of American adults over age 30 have periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Oral Cancer: Around 45,000 Americans receive a diagnosis of oral and pharyngeal cancer annually, with a 5-year survival rate of 61%. The death rate is nearly three times higher in males than in females.

Dental Supplies Usage

  • Toothpaste: Approximately 95% of toothpaste sold in the U.S. contains fluoride, with nearly 138 million Americans using regular toothpaste.
  • Toothbrushes: Close to 210 million Americans use manual toothbrushes, and roughly 4.5 million people use powered toothbrushes at least 5 times a week.
  • Mouthwash: 201 million Americans use mouthwash regularly.
  • Dental Floss: In 2019, Americans spent $30 million on brand name dental floss, with 13.5 million people using store brand flossing products at least 8 times a week.

U.S. Dental Professionals

  • Dentists: In 2020, there were around 201,000 dentists in the U.S., with employment in this field growing at a rate of 7% annually. Dentist salaries vary greatly by state, with the national average wage being $175,000 per year.
  • Dental Hygienists: There are approximately 150,000 registered dental hygienists in the U.S., with 98% of them being female.

Access to Dental Healthcare in the U.S.

  • Limited Access: An estimated 53 million Americans have limited access to dental care due to a shortage of dental health professionals in their areas.
  • Cost Barriers: About 40% of people cite the cost of dental care as the primary reason for not visiting a dentist.

Impact of COVID-19 on Dentistry

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted dental care, with 198,000 dental offices and active dentists shutting down. Recent data reveals that 63% of patients are ready to go to a dentist during the pandemic, 27% have recently gone, 5% are seeking assurance, and 5% are waiting for a medical breakthrough before going.

In conclusion, the dental landscape in the United States is a complex web of statistics, challenges, and fascinating facts. Dental health remains a fundamental aspect of overall well-being, and these numbers paint a clear picture of its current state in the U.S. as of 2022. Whether it’s oral hygiene habits, access to care, or the evolving role of dental professionals, understanding these statistics is crucial for ensuring a brighter future for dental health in America.

Send your request, and we will contact you shortly to schedule your visit.

Schedule Your Visit With Top Pediatric Dentist in Houston TX, in 2018, 2019, and 2020:

* fields are required.