Great Danes! Denmark top of the list for oral health
A new European study has been published that examines tooth decay, sugar consumption, as well as state-funded measures, such as the number of dental schools and dentists, in 26 countries.
The study analyses data from a range of sources, including the World Health Organisation, the University of Oxford, and the Statistical Office of the European Union, to reveal the countries making the best investments in dental health on both a national and individual level – even during times of uncertainty.
Quonomedical, the detail health advisor, released the Dental Health Index 2020 to uncover the current state of oral health across the continent.
The 26 countries included were analysed and ranked according to seven factors split across three clusters:
- Dental conditions
- Dental facilities
- Negative influences on dental health.
The Decay-Missing-Filled-in-Teeth Index (DMFT) was used as the measure of dental conditions.
For dental facilities, the number of dentists per 100,000 people and the number of dental schools overall reveals the level of government investment in oral health.
For negative influences on dental health, the average sugar and alcohol consumption per person was uncovered, along with the percentage of smokers in the adult population.
The implementation of adequate fluoridation measures on a national level was also taken into account.
The UK’s ranking in the top 10 is largely thanks to the number of dental schools.
The UK has the fourth-highest number of dental schools in Europe, ahead of France, Belgium and Sweden.
However, the UK is pulled down in the ranking by high sugar consumption, which stands at around 39 kilograms per capita per year – almost double that of Spanish citizens.
Currently, during lockdown, 70% of UK families with children have reported an increase in their consumption of snacks.
However, UK citizens consume less alcohol per capita per year on average than citizens of Germany, France, and Switzerland.
Table: The 10 countries with the best dental health with results for selected factors
Tooth Decay in 12-Year-Olds
Dentists per 100,000 inhabitants
Annual Sugar Consumption
This list is an extract of the results from an analysis of 26 countries. The full ranking table can be found at https://www.qunomedical.com/en/research/healthiest-teeth-index/.
- Only 22% of the UK adult population smoke, compared to 32% of the French population.
- Children in the UK have relatively healthy teeth. With 12-year-olds having just 0.5 teeth treated for decay on average.
- The UK government has started to implemented water fluoridation measures. NHS studies show a return of investment of £21.98 after 10 years for every £1 invested.
- Italy ranks first as the European country with the healthiest teeth. This is largely thanks to comparatively low alcohol consumption of 7.5 litres per capita and good access to dental facilities.
- Croatia ranks last in the index. The average Croatian consumes 44 kg of sugar per year and children at the age of 12 have on average 4.2 teeth treated for decay.
- Danish people have the fewest dental health problems, with Denmark ranking first for dental conditions.
- Greece has the best access to dentists. There are 125 dentists for every 100,000 citizens, compared to 50 in 100,000 in the Netherlands.
Author: Julie Bissett