Dental Care Utilization

This indicator reports the percentage of adults aged 18 and older who self-report that they have not visited a dentist, dental hygienist or dental clinic within the past year. This indicator is relevant because engaging in preventive behaviors decreases the likelihood of developing future health problems. This indicator can also highlight a lack of access to preventive care, a lack of health knowledge, insufficient provider outreach, and/or social barriers preventing utilization of services.
Report Area Total Population
(Age 18+)
Total Adults Without Recent Dental Exam Percent Adults with No Dental Exam
Franklin County, PA 111,446 30,610 27.5%
Pennsylvania 9,857,384 2,804,554 28.5%
United States 235,375,690 70,965,788 30.2%
Note: This indicator is compared with the state average. Green - Better than state average, Red - Worse than state average.
Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Additional data analysis by CARES. 2006-10. Source geography: County

Adults Without Recent Dental Exam by Gender
Report Area Total Male Total Female Percent Male Percent Female
Pennsylvania 1,424,347 1,352,078 30.7% 26.38%
United States 36,311,042 34,083,921 32.3% 28.12%
Adults Without Recent Dental Exam by Race / Ethnicity, Percent
Report Area Non-Hispanic White Non-Hispanic Black Non-Hispanic Other Race Hispanic or Latino
Pennsylvania 27.07% 41.47% 27.94% 25.66%
United States 26.96% 38.11% 29.23% 38.33%
Website Updated August 2016

Dental Care Utilization

Data Background

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is

“... a collaborative project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. states and territories. The BRFSS, administered and supported by CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Branch, is an ongoing data collection program designed to measure behavioral risk factors for the adult population (18 years of age or older) living in households. ”
Citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services. Overview: BRFSS 2010.

The health characteristics estimated from the BRFSS include data pertaining to health behaviors, chronic conditions, access and utilization of healthcare, and general health. Surveys are administered to populations at the state level and then delivered to the CDC. BRFSS annual survey data are publically available and maintained on the CDC's BRFSS Annual Survey Data web page.

For more information on the BRFSS survey methods, or to obtain a copy of the survey questionnaires, please visit the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System home page.


Indicator percentages are acquired from analysis of annual survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for years 2006-2010. Percentages are generated based on valid responses to the following questions: "How long has it been since you last visited a dentist or a dental clinic for any reason? Include visits to dental specialists, such as orthodontists." and "How long has it been since you had your teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist?" This indicator represents the percentage of respondents who indicated that they had not seen any dentist or dental hygienist within the past year. Data only pertain to the non-institutionalized population aged 18 and up and are weighted to reflect the total county population, including non-respondents, using the methods described in the BRFSS Comparability of Data documentation. Population numerators (estimated number of adults exercising each risk behavior) are not provided in the annual survey data and were generated for the data tables using the following formula:

Adults Without Recent Dental Exam = ([Indicator Percentage] / 100) * [Total Population] .

The population figures used for these estimates are acquired from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2006-2010 five year estimates.

Additional detailed information about the BRFSS, including questionnaires, data collection procedures, and data processing methodologies are available on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System home page.


Data Suppression
Suppression is used to avoid misinterpretation when rates are unstable. Data is suppressed when the total number of persons sampled (for each geographic area / population group combination) over the survey period is less than 20. Data are unreliable when the total number of persons sampled over the survey period is less than 50. Confidence intervals are available when exploring the data through the map viewer.

Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) are collected as two separate categories in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) interview surveys based on methods established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1997. Before the raw survey data files are released, self-identified race and ethnicity variables are recoded by National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) analysts into the following categories: White, Non-Hispanic; Black, Non-Hispanic; Multiple Race, Non-Hispanic; Other Race, Non-Hispanic; and Hispanic or Latino. Due to sample size constraints, race and ethnicity statistics are only reported at the state and national levels.

Courtesy: Community Commons, <>, August 2016