Billions of people across the globe are suffering from major untreated dental problems, according to a new report led by Professor Wagner Marcenes of Queen Mary, University of London, published in the Journal of Dental Research.
Professor Marcenes of the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary led an international research team investigating oral health as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 study.
The report shows that oral conditions affect as many as 3.9bn people worldwide over half the total population. Untreated tooth decay or cavities in permanent teeth - also known as dental caries - was the most common of all 291 major diseases and injuries assessed by the GBD 2010 study, affecting 35 per cent of the world population.
"There are close to 4bn people in the world who suffer from untreated oral health conditions that cause toothache and prevent them from eating and possibly sleeping properly, which is a disability," comments Professor Marcenes. "This total does not even include small cavities or mild gum diseases, so we are facing serious problems in the population's oral health."
The GBD 2010 estimated that the disability associated with severe tooth loss was between those reported for moderate heart failure and moderate consequences of stroke.
Oral conditions accounted for an average health loss of 224 years per 100,000 people (years lived with disability or YLDs) more than 25 out of 28 categories of cancer assessed in the GBD 2010 study.
The study found that the global burden of oral conditions is shifting from severe tooth loss towards severe periodontitis and untreated caries. It found that the global burden of oral diseases increased 20 per cent between 1990 and 2010, while a reduction of 0.5 per cent was observed for all conditions together. This increase was mainly due to population growth and ageing.
Professor Marcenes interprets this observed shift: "Tooth loss is
|Contact: Sarah Cox|
Queen Mary, University of London