Oral Health

Tooth decay (older adults in nursing homes)

Untreated tooth decay by:


2 in 5 adults aged 65 years and older living in Minnesota nursing homes have untreated tooth decay

In 2016, 41 percent of older adults 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.

In 2016, 2 out of every 5 (41.4%, 95% CI = 27.9 to 32.0; n = 667 of 1,032 screened) Minnesota older adults with at least one natural tooth (aged 65 years and older) in nursing homes had untreated tooth decay.

Males aged 65 years and older living in Minnesota nursing homes are more likely to have untreated tooth decay

Untreated tooth decay in older adults 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.


3 in 10 adults aged 65 years and older living in Minnesota nursing homes have broken or fractured teeth

In 2016, 32 percent of older adults in Minnesota nursing homes – about 15,533 individuals – had at least one (residual tooth root). There were no significant difference in the proportion of older adults with broken or fractured teeth by sex or age group. Race and ethnicity could not be analyzed due to the low proportion of non-White or Hispanic residents in the sample.

In 2016, 3 out of every 10 (32.1%, 95% CI = 29.0 to 35.3; n = 673 of 944) Minnesota older adults aged 65 years and older in nursing homes had at least one broken or fractured tooth.