Impacts of oral disorders in the United Kingdom and Australia

BACKGROUND: Surveys of oral health have not previously compared national adult populations using measures of subjective oral health.

AIMS: To compare subjective oral health of adults in the UK and Australian populations.

METHODS: Cross sectional studies were conducted of people aged 18+ years in the 1998 UK Adult Dental Health Survey and the 1999 Australian National Dental Telephone Interview Survey. Subjective oral health was measured using the 14-item Oral Health Impact Profile questionnaire (OHIP-14).

RESULTS: Among dentate people, the percentage reporting impacts ‘fairly often’ or ‘very often’ was marginally greater in Australia (18.2%, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 16.2-20.2) than the UK (15.9%, 95%CI = 14.4-17.4). There were larger regional variations in prevalence within populations, ranging from 14.8% to 22.3% among Australian states/ territories, and from 13.6% to 19.8% among countries within the UK. However, the mean number of impacts and rated severity of impacts was significantly greater in Australia than the UK.

CONCLUSIONS: While the percentage of adults reporting adverse impacts of oral health was similar, Australians reported a larger number of impacts and more severe impacts than dentate people in the UK. Differences in the number and severity of impacts between the two populations may be an artifact of different data collection methods or may reflect relatively subtle socio-cultural differences in subjective oral health between these populations.

Slade GD, Nuttall N, Sanders AE, Steele JG, Allen PF, Lahti S.

Br Dent J. 2005 Apr 23;198(8):489-93; discussion 483.

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