The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation have launched a one-stop source for oral health data, the Minnesota Oral Health Statistics System.
Minnesota is the first state to offer an interactive tool that provides a variety of data queries, tables, charts, and maps, according to the health department.
"This private-public partnership puts Minnesota at the forefront of oral health," said Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger in a press release. "It is already helping to inform MDH's efforts to ensure that every child in Minnesota regardless of race or place has the opportunity for a healthy smile and a healthy start."
The launch coincides with February as National Children's Dental Health Month.
The online portal links oral disease data to other chronic diseases and factors such as income, race, education, and access to dental care. The site allows users to compare state and county oral health data, including children's dental service use and dental sealant rates.
Recent data showed the following:
- Third-graders enrolled in Minnesota public schools with higher poverty rates are more likely to have untreated and treated caries and are more likely to have urgent treatment needs.
- About half of Minnesotans 65 years or older earning less than $35,000 a year have suffered tooth loss, compared with only 26% of seniors earning $50,000 or more.
- Nearly 6 out of every 10 older adults in Minnesota with less than a high school degree had at least one natural tooth removed due to caries or periodontal disease, compared to 2 of every 10 older adults with a college degree.
- Less than half of Minnesota children younger than age 20 enrolled in Medicaid/Minnesota Health Care Programs saw a dentist or oral health provider in the past year, and fewer than 40% had a preventive dental service, such as for a dental cleaning or exam.
- Less than 20% of Minnesota Health Care Programs enrollees ages 6 to 14 years received dental sealants per recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry for their age group.
- Among Minnesota third-graders enrolled in public school, 67% of white children have dental sealants, compared with 49% of Hispanic/Latino children.
The Minnesota Oral Health Statistics System at the Minnesota Public Health Data Access Portal is available on the MDH website.