What Oral Hygiene Looks like around the World

two-thirds of adults over 65 worldwide have no natural teethWhen it comes to oral hygiene, no two countries are quite alike.

Some countries are worse off than others, and some are doing a few things right that the rest of us just can’t seem to figure out. Let’s take a look at what oral hygiene looks like around the world.

The Big Picture

Before we get into the specific differences between countries, let’s review the state of oral hygiene worldwide first:

  • Over two-thirds of child around the world have had cavities, and nearly all adults around the world have had cavities
  • Nearly one-third of adults over the age of 65 have no natural teeth
  • One-fifth of middle-aged adults (35 to 44 years old) worldwide have had severe periodontal disease (gum disease), which can lead to tooth loss and more serious complications
  • Dentists in Germany have the highest average salary around the world (~140,000 USD a year), while dentists in Latvia have the lowest average salary (~8,000 USD a year)
  • Poor oral hygiene and the resulting dental problems were most prevalent in impoverished and otherwise disadvantaged areas
  • The risk factors for tooth problems, gum disease, and other dental issues were the same just about anywhere you go: unhealthy high-sugar diets, heavy tobacco and alcohol use, and, of course, neglecting to brush and floss regularly

Who Has It the Best, Who Has It the Worst

Okay, it’s near-impossible to say with certainty which countries are the best and which are the worst when it comes to oral hygiene, as with any individual study there will invariably be a lot of countries that don’t participate.

That said, there is a lot of research out there that helps us get a better idea of where more effort needs to be put into educating the public on why they need to take care of their teeth.

Take this study for example, which highlights the number of decayed, missing, or filled teeth in the average 12-year-old. Out of the 18 countries that participated in this study, the four worst countries were:

  1. Poland: ~4 teeth decayed, missing, or filled in the average 12-year-old
  2. Hungary: ~3.5 teeth
  3. Czech Republic: ~2.5 teeth
  4. South Korea: ~2 teeth

On the other hand, the four countries that proved to have the best oral hygiene in this study were as followed:

  1. Netherlands: ~1 tooth
  2. Denmark: ~0.75 teeth
  3. Germany: ~0.75 teeth
  4. Britain: ~0.75 teeth

Surprised? You read that right: despite the constant jokes about their teeth, the British are among the best in the world when it comes to oral hygiene, topping the rankings while the United States ranked in the middle of the pack at 10th overall (~1.25 teeth).

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our dental services.

Bryce Searle
Dr. Searle grew up in Spanish Fork, Utah. Prior to attending dental school, he served a full-time ecclesiastical mission in Ecuador for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Bryce Searle
Bryce Searle

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