Skip to main content

Good job Minnesotans, you've got the best teeth in the country

Minnesotans have a reason to smile.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

As Minnesota's dentists prepare to provide free care to needy children, they do so knowing their partly responsible for the state having the best teeth in the nation.

That's according to WalletHub, which looked at 23 different indicators of dental health to determine that Minnesota has the pearliest whites out of the 50 states, ahead of neighbors Wisconsin and fellow Midwesterners Illinois.

WalletHub looked at data including how often children and adults visit the dentist, how much treatment costs, reported oral problems, soft drink consumption and smoker numbers.

Minnesota scored highly in categories including the percentage of adults who have visited the dentist in the past year, and the lowest percentage of elderly population with no natural teeth.

It's also the state with the lowest percentage of adults with oral condition that is considered just "poor" or "fair."

Give Kids a Smile

The findings come as the Minnesota Dental Association is set to hold its annual "Give Kids a Smile" drive on Friday and Saturday, with more than 350 dentists and 1,800 volunteers set to take part in the charitable event that gives free dental care to thousands of children in need.

Around 125 clinics across the state will be taking part in the event, which is expected to attract 4,000 needy children to surgeries.

"Minnesota dentists know every child deserves a winning smile," Dr. Kevin Dens, president of the Minnesota Dental Association, said in a press release. "There is so much unmet need for dental treatment in Minnesota."

The association says nearly one in four children aged 2-11 have untreated cavities in their baby teeth and more than half of Minnesota children enrolled in Medical Assistance have not received dental care in the past year.

This is made more difficult, the association claims, because Minnesota has the "lowest-in-the-nation ranking" for reimbursing dentists who treat patients on government dental programs.

A few years ago, MPR reported that the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor said the state doesn't pay dentists enough for treating Medical Assistance patients, and as a result too many state dentists are unwilling to serve these low-income patients.

The Star Tribune reported last year that shortages are particularly bad in outstate Minnesota, where patients are having to travel in some cases hundreds of miles to find a dentist that serves MA patients.

Next Up

Fire, firefighters

Home that was scene of June standoff engulfed in fire

Authorities arrived to find the home fully ablaze.

Rosland park bridge

Crosstown Hwy. 62 reopens as footage emerges of truck hitting bridge

The westbound lanes were closed in Edina from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday night.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 8.31.42 PM

Flash flooding as torrential rain hammers Cambridge

Flooding and damage from a non-severe storm Wednesday evening.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 4.02.18 PM

Minneapolis nonprofit celebrates anonymous donor's $1.5M gift

Appetite For Change is building sustainable, local food systems in North Minneapolis.

police lights

On the lam since 2007, suspect in MN murder case arrested in Florida

The suspect is one of three men connected to a fatal drive-by shooting on St. Paul's West Side.

Deer on road

Motorcyclist in collision with deer dies from injuries

The 55-year-old from Princeton died at a hospital a day after the crash.


Burnsville approves measure that will make its landfill much taller

The expansion will increase the landfill's allowable height by an additional 268 feet.

michael carbo

Northern MN man found guilty in 1980s cold case murder

Nancy Daugherty was found dead in the afternoon hours of July 16, 1986.

Red Ox Cafe

Breakfast spot in Ham Lake closes after decades in business

The business posted an announcement on its front door.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 1.43.04 PM

St. Paul man killed partner, himself while their 5 kids were home

St. Paul confirmed the double shooting on Tuesday evening was murder-suicide.

Kids competing in USA Mullet Championships

Minnesota, Wisconsin kids competing in USA Mullet Championships

The contest is divided into kids and teens divisions.


One killed after being trapped under UTV near Alexandria

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says the victim died at the scene.


Minnesotans healthier, live longer than those in other states

Minnesotans have the longest "healthy life expectancy" in the country.

Study highlights health challenges facing low-income Minnesotans

The obesity gap is going between the poor and wealthy Minnesotans.

The good life: Minnesota, Twin Cities rank high in national 'well-being' list

If you live in Minnesota, chances are your life is pretty good.

Why Minneapolis and St. Paul were rated the best park systems in the country

The Twin Cities (once again) are at the top of these yearly park rankings.

Thousands of Minnesotans signed up for health insurance already, MNsure says

After a rocky start for open enrollment, more than 13,000 have successfully signed up for health coverage.

Good job teens, you're getting pregnant less (but watch those STIs)

Minnesota teens are generally good at not getting pregnant, but not so good at preventing STIs.

Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 11.45.34 AM

Coronavirus outbreak: Should Minnesotans be concerned?

There have only been two confirmed cases in the U.S. so far.