Untreated dental caries and edentulism on the rise at global level, finds study

Untreated dental caries and tooth loss are prevalent on a
global level with wide variations among different countries, age groups and
socioeconomic status suggests a recent study published in the Journal of
Dentistry

The aim of the study was to analyze data collected from
studies worldwide on the prevalence of edentulism and dental caries, in
community-dwellers aged ≥ 45 years.

Inclusion criteria; participants aged ≥ 45 years,
community-dwellers. Exclusion criteria; participants aged < 45 years, in
nursing homes, data obtained from dental clinics or pre-2005. The quality
assessment tool by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for
Observational Cohort and Cross-sectional studies was used. Meta-analysis using
the random-effects model (95% confidence interval) was done with data on
participants who were edentulous and/or had active dental caries and stratified
by regions of the world, age and Gross National Income per capita. Limitations
in the data arose from several factors such as design of the studies included
differences in socioeconomic status and access to health care among different
countries.

Embase, MEDLINE via Pubmed and Scopus, manual searches, from
January 2016, restricted to English. Experts from different countries were
contacted to identify National oral health surveys (NOHS) conducted from 2010
onwards.

Eighty-six papers and seventeen NOHS were selected for data
extraction. Majority of the studies (n = 69) were cross-sectional and of fair
quality. 1.1%–70%, 4.9% – 98% prevalence of edentulism and dental caries,
respectively. 22%, 45% estimated random-effects pooled prevalence of edentulism
and dental caries, respectively.

Within the limitations of this study, the findings indicate
that untreated dental caries and tooth loss are prevalent on a global level
with wide variations among different countries, age groups and socioeconomic
status.

The findings demonstrate the reality of the new cohort of
older adults, with higher tooth retention implying more dental caries incidence
and the need for different care strategies to ensure better oral health. Large
variations and difficulty in making comparisons among different countries
highlight the need for more standardized, regular research.

Reference:

R. Borg-Bartolo, A. Roccuzzo, P. Molinero-Mourelle, M.
Schimmel, K. Gambetta-Tessini, A. Chaurasia, R.B. Koca-Ünsal, C. Tennert, R.
Giacaman, G. Campus. Global prevalence of edentulism and dental caries in
middle-aged and elderly persons: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal
of Dentistry, Volume 127, 2022, 104335, ISSN 0300-5712. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdent.2022.104335.

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