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Public Health (25-02-2010)

Almost 60 % of Europeans have visited a dentist in the last year, Eurobarometer reveals

This week, the European Commission published the results of the first Eurobarometer survey on the self perceived oral health of European citizens. The survey was conducted during October 2009 in the 27 Member States of the European Union and the three candidate countries. It is structured around 3 categories: the state of our teeth, dietary habits and dental check-ups and treatment.
 
Here are some key findings:
 
The state of our teeth
The vast majority of Europeans say that they do not have any difficulties caused by their teeth. Nor do they feel embarrassed by them. However:
  • Only 41% of Europeans say that they have all their natural teeth.
  • Approximately 15% have experienced difficulties, over the last twelve months, in chewing, biting or eating food because of mouth or teeth problems.
  • 16% have experienced toothache, painful gums or sore spots
  • 7% have felt embarrassed about the appearance of their teeth or dentures.
 
Dental check-ups and treatment
  • 57% of those surveyed last consulted a dentist (for their teeth, dentures or gums) less than one year ago. Only 2% have never consulted a dentist.
  • 88% of Europeans think that, if necessary, it would be possible to see a dentist within 30 minutes of their home or workplace.
  • Half of respondents say the last time that they visited a dentist it was for a check-up, examination or cleaning. A third saw a dentist for routine treatment and almost one in five went for emergency treatment.
  • The three top reasons given for not having consulted a dentist during the last two years are: dental problem not serious enough (33%), no teeth or false teeth (16%) and the high cost of check-ups and treatment (15%). Only 10% of respondents said that their main reason was fear or dislike of dentists or dental hygienists.
 
Dietary habits
  • Almost a fifth of those interviewed consume soft drinks "often" or eat biscuits and cakes.
  • However, only a minority of respondents report that they regularly eat sweets or chew gum.
 
This first survey has been commissioned in the context of the EGOHID (European Global Oral Health Indicators Development) project, co-financed under the Public Health Programme. It provides us with a starting point for comparing and contrasting the oral health status of citizens in the European Union. A future repeat of this survey will reveal any changes in oral health status that occur over time.
 
Link to the report:
http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_330_en.pdf
 
For further information on the EGOHID project:
http://www.egohid.eu/