Study finds Americans do not

Adult Dental Health Survey

British Dental Journal 213, 567 - 572 (2012)
Published online: 7 December 2012 | doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2012.1088

Subject terms: Adult dental health survey | Dental public health | Epidemiology

D. A. White, G. Tsakos, N. B. Pitts, E. Fuller, G. V. A. Douglas, J. J. Murray & J. G. Steele

  • Summarises the main findings of the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey with respect to the state of teeth and periodontal tissues.
  • Highlights the decrease from 54% to 31% in the prevalence of visible dental caries in England between 1998 and 2009.
  • Suggests the frequency of impact of poor oral health on people's lives has reduced in the last decade.


Data from the Adult Dental Survey conducted in 2009/10 have recorded some major changes in the pattern of oral conditions in British adults. The change in the number of sound and untreated teeth in recent decades has been particularly marked in younger adults. Across all ages there were 17.9 sound and untreated teeth per dentate adult, but among the youngest (16-24-year-olds) it was 26.9 teeth indicating rapidly improving prospects for young adults compared with their predecessors. Between 1998 and 2009 the overall prevalence of caries of all types in England has fallen dramatically from 54% to 31% overall, but the number of teeth affected by caries among those people affected by decay is almost unchanged at around 2.7 affected teeth per person. Caries, and the reduction in caries, affected people of all ages. The rate of new restorations is correspondingly low and young adults in particular had fewer restorations than their predecessors. Much activity is now likely to be around repairing or extending existing restorations. By contrast 37% of dentate adults had crowns, up from 34% in 1998, averaging around three crowns per person among those who have crowns. A minority of British adults had a very healthy periodontal status (17%) and moderate periodontal disease (pockets of 4 mm to less than 6 mm) has also reduced markedly in the last decade, in line with measurably less plaque and more frequent brushing. However, more severe disease has increased slightly (from 6% to 9% of adults). The frequency of impact of poor oral health on people's lives has also reduced in the last decade. However, while clinical conditions are improving, there is a proportion of dentate adults that experience negative effects on their daily life frequently (16%) and/or severely (17%) due to their oral health; who are more likely to be those in a lower socioeconomic position and those with worse clinical status in terms of caries and periodontal disease.

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