teeth

Which country is looking after their teeth the most?

In the United States especially, we get told by our dentists that we aren’t spending enough time looking after our teeth. The use of sugar, bad dental habits, and other factors certainly don’t help, and it can be safe to say that the United States is one of the countries that has a bit of a problem looking after their oral health. However, that does bring up the question… what countries do have the best dental hygiene?

Surprisingly, there is an organization that keeps track of that very question, called the  Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED). They figure out what country has the best oral care, then they try to persuade the countries that don’t have strong oral care to follow their lead. To do this, they have an index called the DMFT index, which stands for Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth.

The DMFT index scores teeth out of a total number of 20, for the number of teeth that fall into the category of Decayed, Missing and Filled. The country with the lowest score is considered the healthiest. So what countries are the healthiest orally, and why?

The Results Are Across The Pond

The Danes in Denmark have a score of 0.4, which means that less than half of a tooth requires attention from a dentist out of the average of all the people surveyed. Germany is in second place with 0.5 and Finland has 0.7. Sweden and the UK have a score of 0.8, Switzerland has a score of 0.9 and to get to a score of 1.0 we go all the way to Canada!

So what makes all these European countries take such good care of their teeth? Well, in Denmark dental care is free of charge for all children under the age of 18 as long as they are residents. For adults who have to pay, they can rest assured that their dental care and treatment are subsidized by the state.

Several studies have also shown that more than two thirds of the population brush their teeth twice a day, with at least one third brushing regularly once a day. Additionally, 28% of Danes used toothpicks daily and 11% did daily flossing. The twice a day brushing was caused by regular visits to the dentist- especially as a child and during school years.

They have a lot of education about the importance of oral health as well, and that education and discussion about dentistry is why they are the country with the best dental care.

Dental care in Germany is semi-privatized, however, most medically necessary procedures are covered fully while cosmetic treatments need to be partially or fully paid out of pocket. Most dentists are highly trained and are required to meet strict criteria in order to operate, and there’s even a day of dental health in Germany on September 25th that promotes oral health and educates the public.

If you look into the rest of the countries, you see that there are some similar patterns involving health insurance and education about oral health and dentistry. The countries who care about their oral health do so because they take it seriously, something that countries lower on the scale don’t do.

The United States Isn’t That Bad

Despite having a score of 1.2 and tying with France on oral healthcare, the United States isn’t doing too bad in terms of dental health. Still, there’s a lot more we could be doing. Because dental care is so costly and not always insured, many people simply are forced to go without it and there is a lack of education on just how important the health of the mouth is to the body.

Additionally, it can be hard to find time to even go to the dentist’s office as well, especially for people who are lower income and need to spend every hour working. Even for children, because dental care is considered essential in most insurance plans and even Medicaid, most insurance plans vary from state to state over what exactly they cover and many parents just aren’t buying them or using the coverage.

Denmark is the best in the world at looking after their teeth, because they take their oral health seriously and don’t restrict access to it. So if you want to go to where oral care is held in very high regard, make sure to make a visit to Denmark.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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