Oral diseases, which range from cavities to oral cancer, cause pain and disability for millions of Americans each year. About half of all children and two thirds of low-income children have had tooth decay. Advanced gum disease affects up to twelve percent of adults; twenty five percent of adults over age 65 have no teeth; and over 7,500 deaths are from oral and throat cancer each year. Regular access to oral health care is critical to maintaining good oral health. This measure is a leading health indicator on Healthy People 2020. To review additional literature on this topic on PubMed, go here.
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Percentage of People who Used the Oral Care System in the Last 12 Months
Numerator: Number of persons aged 2 years or older who report having had a dental visit in the past 12 months. Denominator: Number of persons aged 2 years or older.
Inclusion Criteria: This measure includes people in the civilian non-institutional population.
Exclusion Criteria: Excluded from this measure are people in the military and the institutional population.
MEPS data for oral health provide information on the nature of the dental visit. Subjects are interviewed on five different occasions over 25 months, so that they do not need to recall details of dental care received more than five months beforehand.
This measure is calculated by AHRQ from the MEPS.