Maine Oral Health Program

Oral Health In Maine

Dental disease, an infectious disease that affects children and adults, may be both the most prevalent yet preventable disease known.

In 2002, data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System External site disclaimer, a national survey, indicated that 4.8% of Maine adults ages 25-34 and 11.8% of those ages 35-44 had lost 6 or more teeth because of tooth decay or gum disease. In 2004 nearly half of the population age 65 and older reported having lost 6 or more teeth. Data from a statewide survey of kindergarten and third-grade students (Adobe PDF*) conducted during 2004 indicates that about a quarter of the children who were screened had caries experience (treated or untreated tooth decay). In the same survey, parents of 20.4% of third graders reported that their children had untreated tooth decay.

In 2008 about 84% of Maine people on public water supplies received fluoridated water. About 49% of Maine people use public water supplies. This means that overall about 37% of Maine’s total population has fluoridated drinking water in their homes.

With only a few health departments to provide an infrastructure for public health services, and a small number of private and public non-profit dental clinics scattered through the state, few opportunities exist for low-income Maine residents to obtain affordable dental services.