One third of adults in deprived areas have untreated tooth decay, survey shows

More than a quarter of England suffer from untreated tooth decayMore than one quarter of England’s population suffers from tooth decay, new oral health survey statistics reveal.

The data shows that more than 27% of participants had untreated tooth decay – with each having around 2.1 decayed teeth. And 18% reported currently being in pain.

The same number had experienced one or more impacts relating to poor oral health ‘fairly’ or ‘very often’ in the last 12 months.

Additionally, untreated tooth decay was more common among participants aged 25 to 34 years.

The oral health survey was conducted by the National Dental Epidemiology Programme for the years 2017/2018.

Need for dental treatment

It also reveals that only 1% of adult dental attendees in England had none of their own teeth while 15% wore dentures. This figure stood at 10% for those with bridges or implants that replace missing teeth.

The majority of participants (82%) had ‘functional dentitions’ – in other words, having 21 or more natural teeth. Nearly all participants (90%) had at least one filling and around half (47%) had crowned teeth.

On top of this, most (71%) were found to have a current need for dental treatment. And most participants surveyed (84%) said it had been 12 months or less since they last visited the dentist.

However, the report points out that participants with no natural teeth may be underrepresented in this survey due to less frequent visits to the dentist.

Untreated tooth decay

It also revealed that poor oral health disproportionately impacted those of an older age as well as those from more deprived areas.

Around two thirds of participants aged 85 and older did not have a functional dentition.

And one third of participants living in the more deprived areas of England experienced untreated tooth decay. In comparison, this stood at one in five in the less deprived areas.

Additionally, reports of oral health issues in the last year from participants living in more deprived areas (28%) were almost three times the number of participants living in less deprived areas (11%).

The research team assessed questionnaire and clinical exam data from 16,572 (65% of those approached) and 14,270 (56%) respectively.

You can read the full survey results here.

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