According to a new WalletHub analysis, West Virginia has the worst dental health in the nation.

The analysts compared 50 states and the District of Columbia across 23 metrics, ranging from "share of adolescents who visited a dentist in the past year" to "dental treatment costs," to determine the best and worst states.

West Virginia ranked worst overall, as well as in two categories — highest number of adult smokers and highest number of elderly population with no natural teeth.

WalletHub said dental health can have an impact on appearance, general well-being and even earnings.

The Mountain State ranked within the top three worst states for percentage of adults who visited a dentist in the past year, percentage of adults who experienced pain in the past year due to their oral condition, and percent of adults with low life satisfaction due to their oral condition.

The state also ranked 47th for number of dentists per capita.

The study follows recently released data from the National Center for Health Statistics that shows nearly two-thirds of U.S. youth consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day.

According to WalletHub, West Virginia ranks 35th for sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among adolescents. Studies have shown a link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and dental cavities, type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

The obesity rate is 18.5 percent for adolescents in West Virginia, according to State of Obesity.

Other West Virginia rankings from the WalletHub study include the following:

• 18th for percentage of adolescents who visited a dentist in the past year

• 29th for dental treatment costs

• 36th for percentage of adults with poor or fair oral condition

For more information, visit wallethub.com

— Email: wholdren@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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