Tooth decay in older adults in nursing homes

Untreated tooth decay by:

2 in 5 older adults living in Minnesota nursing homes have untreated tooth decay

In 2016, 41 percent of older adults ages 65 years and older with at least one natural tooth living in Minnesota nursing homes – about 19,840 individuals – had untreated tooth decay that was not filled or restored. There were no significant differences in the proportion of older adults with untreated tooth decay by age group. Race and ethnicity could not be analyzed due to the low proportion of non-White or Hispanic residents in the sample.

2 out of every 5
Minnesota older adults (65 years and older) in nursing homes


(41.4%, 95% CI = 38.0 to 44.7; n = 667 of 1,032 screened)
Had untreated tooth decay

Untreated tooth decay in older adults ages 65 years and older living in Minnesota nursing homes by sex, 2016


Source: Minnesota Department of Health, Oral Health Program. Older Adult Basic Screening Survey.


Data is based on an open mouth screening – the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) standardized survey. Analyzable sample size = 944 of 1,032 residents screened within a stratified random sample of 31 Minnesota Medicare or Medicaid eligible skilled nursing facilities with at least 30 beds. Untreated tooth decay was not measured for 277 residents (residents with complete tooth loss = 252, unknown = 25). See About the Data: Basic Screening Survey for Older Adults for more information.

In 2016, males were 30 percent more likely to have untreated tooth decay compared to females.