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Important Facts for Routine Dental Health Care Visits


Percentage of adults ages 18 years and older who reported a dental visit in the past year.


Number of survey respondents who reported a dental visit within the past 12 months.


Total number of survey respondents excluding those with missing, "Don't know/Not sure" or "Refused" responses.

Data Interpretation Issues

Question Text: "How long has it been since you last visited a dentist or a dental clinic for any reason? Interviewer Instruction: Include visits to dental specialists, such as orthodontists." Beginning in 2011, BRFSS data include both landline and cell phone respondent data along with a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting, or raking. This methodology utilizes additional demographic information (such as education, race, and marital status) in the weighting procedure. Both of these methodology changes were implemented to account for an increased number of U.S. households without landline phones and an under-representation of certain demographic groups that were not well-represented in the sample. More details about these changes can be found at: []. As with all surveys, some error results from nonresponse (e.g., refusal to participate in the survey or to answer specific questions) and measurement (e.g., social desirability or recall bias). Error was minimized by use of strict calling protocols (up to 15 calls were made to reach each household), good questionnaire design, standardization of interviewer behavior, interviewer training, and frequent, on-site interviewer monitoring and supervision.

Why Is This Important?

Regular dental visits are important in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of oral and craniofacial diseases and conditions for all ages. Adults need regular professional care to avoid tooth loss, the need for complex restorative treatment, and even systemic health problems. Even people without teeth need to be monitored regularly for oral health which may be affected by systemic conditions, medications, prosthetic devices, and exposure to tobacco. Infrequent use of dental services has been associated with poor oral health among adults.

Healthy People Objective OH-7:

Increase the proportion of children, adolescents, and adults who used the oral health care system in the past year
U.S. Target: 49.0 percent

Other Objectives

Chronic Disease Indicator: Visits to dentist or dental clinic among adults aged >= 18 years.

How Are We Doing?

In 2016, 73.0% of Utah adults reported visiting a dentist or dental clinic in the past year (age-adjusted rate). This is up about 4% compared to the previous 6 years, but in general it has varied little since 1995 when the question was first asked. Utah adults with higher incomes and more education are more likely to report a dental visit in the past year than those with lower incomes and less education. There is little difference in this percentage among age groups in Utah.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Since 1999, the percentage of Utah adults who reported visiting a dentist or dental clinic in the past year has been slightly higher than reported by adults in the U.S. as a whole (73.0% vs. 65.5% in 2016).

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Department of Health Oral Health Program's current priorities include promoting fluoride and dental sealants, preventing tooth decay in young children, and encouraging annual dental visits for both children and adults.
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sat, 20 July 2019 13:59:26 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:28 MDT