Postponed dental health survey now September

The National Adult Dental Health Survey – postponed from last year – gets underway in September.

The survey had taken place every 10 years since 1968 with the aim of reflecting the state of the adult nation’s oral health and is conducted by the Office of National Statistics and some dental schools.

Chief dental officer Barry Cockcroft announced that 2008’s would be postponed at the BDA conference in May last year.

At the time, he promised that it would take place in 2009 but had been put off due to a ‘departmental reorganisation’.

Around 9,000 adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will have their teeth examined by 80 NHS dentists as part of the survey. 

The research, carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), will investigate attitudes to dental hygiene and treatment. 

Combined with results from the earlier surveys this ‘snapshot’ will identify trends in dental health and in ways people seek treatment.

The survey is funded by the English, Welsh and Northern Irish Health Departments. 

The research is being conducted by ONS in partnership with the National Centre for Social Research in England and Wales, and the Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency. 

Each person will be interviewed about attitudes to dental care and will then be invited to take part in a 20-minute dental examination carried out in their own home by an NHS dentist. 

ONS has teamed up with five university dental centres across the UK – Dundee, Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff and University College London – who in turn have recruited NHS dentists to examine the nation’s mouths. 

Dennis Roberts, from ONS, said: ‘The Adult Dental Health Survey has an important role to play in establishing how patterns of tooth retention and dental hygiene have changed since the last survey was carried out in 1998. It’s a vital snapshot that will help NHS dentists improve treatment in years to come.’

The schools of dentistry also helped to devise questions and organise training to ensure dentists and interviewers follow the same procedures on each occasion. 

Adults taking part are randomly sampled by ONS. They must be over the age of 16 – and must possess at least one natural tooth to participate. 

At the time of the postponement, critics suggested the Government had opted for the delay due to the lack of access created by the April 2006 contract – and the effects on adult dental health because of this.

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