11:57am

Mon May 21, 2012
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Tenn. Oral Health Ranked Among Worst in Nation

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s dental health ranks among the worst in the nation according to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC study shows declining dental visits in Tennessee and an increase in the number of people who have lost at least one permanent tooth.

Dr. Steven Turner is an ER physician at Summitt Medical Center here in Middle Tennessee. He says ER Docs see a lot of patients with dental complaints.

"Dental care is one of the more common things that people come to the ER for. It does seem to be related predominately to financial issues; inability to get outpatient care at dental facilities. We tend to see several patients each day for dental related complaints."

Turner says that it’s not uncommon to see patients with such severe oral infections that choking is a real concern.

Tennessee now ranks 47th in the nation for dental health.