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Clean teeth are supposed to be good for heart health, and a way to avoid dentures and to avoid the drilling, which comes with cavities as well. Some people are more willing to go to the dentist than others. It turns out that this varies wildly by state and region.

A new Gallup poll shows that states in the Northeast are the ones where residents are most likely to have visited a dentist in the past 12 months. States in the South are where people are least likely to.

In detail: For the third year in a row, Connecticut residents were the most likely to say they visited a dentist in the last 12 months. It is one of only three states, the others being Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where nearly three in four residents visited a dentist. Just over half of the residents in Mississippi say the same, coming in last for dental care among the 50 states.

Gallup's conclusion about the differences among states and regions is almost obvious. People who live in poorer states are less likely to have the money to visit health care professionals. They are also less likely to be insured. The research organization speculates that enrollment in insurance programs because of the Affordable Care Act may allow more people to visit dentists.

MORE: America's healthiest cities

The states where the largest percentage of people visited a dentist in the past 12 months:

• Connecticut (74.9%)
• Massachusetts (74.5%)
• Rhode Island (73.8%)
• Alaska (72.6%)
• Wisconsin (72.4%)
• Minnesota (71.9%)
• North Dakota (71.4%)
• Utah (71.4%)
• Delaware (70.9%)
• South Dakota (70.7%).

And where the fewest percent of people did:

• Mississippi (53.0%)
• Oklahoma (55.2%)
• Louisiana (55.2%)
• Arkansas (56.1%)
• Texas (56.3%)
• West Virginia (56.6%)
• Tennessee (56.9%)
• Kentucky (58.6%)
• Missouri (59.0%)
• Arizona (59.3%)

MORE: States where kids go hungry

Methodology: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2 to Dec. 29, 2013, with a random sample of 178,072 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

24/7 Wall St. is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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