Comparison of adult oral health in Australia, the USA, Germany and the UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND Australian adults reportedly have poor oral health when compared to 28 other OECD countries. The Australian ranking was based on edentulism and caries experience data from selected age groups that apparently were collected in 1987-88. The objective of this study was to compare the oral health of Australian adults with that of three other western countries that have comprehensive oral health survey data. METHODS Published data were obtained from the NHANES 2003-2004, the Fourth German Oral Health Study 2005 and the UK Adult Dental Health Survey 1998. Data from the Australian NSAOH 2004-06 were analysed to generate comparable age-specific estimates using nine dental clinical indicators, two measures of oral hygiene behaviour and two of dental attendance. RESULTS Australia had the best oral health based on two clinical indicators, was equal first on three indicators and ranked second in the remaining clinical indicators. Australia ranked first or second based on dental flossing, use of mouthwash and frequency of dental attendance. CONCLUSIONS The oral health of the Australian adult population was among the best of the four nations studied.

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