Yesterday I was shocked by the estimated 2,000 desperate people who waited in the frigid rain outside the Convention Center for free dental care. Today I'm looking up Oregon's very depressing oral health stats at the Center for Disease Control.
Time for a soul-crushing quiz!
1) What percent of Oregonians age 65 or older have lost every single one of their teeth?
2) What percent of Oregon third-graders have had a cavity in one of their adult teeth?
3) What percent of Oregon third-graders don't have dental insurance coverage?
4) Portland doesn't add fluoride to its water. What percent of the country does?
Answers below the cut!
1) According to the CDC, an astounding 16 percent of older Oregonians don't have any teeth. That's actually down from 20.9% in 1999 and ranks us 16th nationally—Hawaii is best off with only 9.6 percent of its citizens 65+ having no teeth and West Virginia stays true to stereotype with a whopping 36.7% of its seniors living toothlessly.
2) The 2007 Healthy Smiles survey showed that 64 percent of third graders had at least one cavity.
3) That same survey found that 25 percent, or 30,000 school kids, had no dental coverage. Oregon Healthy Kids covers all the dental needs of uninsured Oregon children. But that “uninsured” requirement actually creates a significant gap in coverage: kids who have medical insurance, but not dental, don’t qualify for the public program.
4) The CDC says about 60 percent of citizens nationally live in water districts that add fluoride to the water as an inexpensive (but controversial) way to strengthen teeth.