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Health Indicator Report of Routine Dental Health Care Visits

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.

Dental Visit in the Past Year by Local Health District, Utah, 2018


Age-adjusted to U.S. 2000 standard population.

Data Sources

  • Utah Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Office of Public Health Assessment, Utah Department of Health
  • U.S. Data: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Division of Behavioral Surveillance, CDC Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services

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.


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.

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 2018, 72.0% of Utah adults reported visiting a dentist or dental clinic in the past year (age-adjusted rate). This is down one percentage point from 2016, but is 3.3 percentage points higher than it was six years ago. Utah adults with higher incomes and more education were more likely to report a dental visit in the past year than those with lower incomes and less education. The percentage of adults reporting a visit gradually increased with age from 68.7% for those aged 18-34 years to 75.1 % for those aged 65 and older.

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 a little higher than reported by adults in the U.S. as a whole (73.0% vs. 65.5% in 2016, and 72.0% vs. 66.2% in 2018).

What Is Being Done?

The Utah Department of Health Oral Health Program current priorities include promoting fluoride and dental sealants, preventing tooth decay in young children, and encouraging annual dental visits for both children and adults.

Available Services

As of September 2017, Medicaid includes basic dental care for children, pregnant women, and disabled adults. There is only emergency coverage for most other adults. For information call 801-538-6155, or 1-800-662-9651 or visit []. CHIP includes preventive and restorative services for children. For more information call 1-877-KIDS-NOW or visit []. There are a few dental clinics that provide services on a sliding fee scale or at a reduced rate. For more information on these clinics, contact your local health department or the State Oral Health Program at (801) 273-2995, or visit the [ Oral Health Program - Find a Dentist] website. Dental Hygiene Schools throughout the state of Utah offer preventive services including sealants and fluoride treatments. Dental Schools also offer treatment services in addition. Contact the UDOH Oral Health Program at (801) 273-2995, or visit the [ Oral Health Program] website for more information. [ Link for Healthy People 2020 for Oral Health]

Health Program Information

For other oral health related reports, click on the Health Topics tab, then click on Dental, then click on the + to the right of Publications.
Page Content Updated On 10/26/2020, Published on 01/08/2021
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Wed, 28 February 2024 22:47:11 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 16:09:20 MST