Changes in the numbers of dentists and dental caries levels in 12-year-olds in the countries of the European Union and economic area.
J R Soc Health
40 - 48.
This study compares numbers of dentists in the countries of the European Union (EU) from 1970 to 1994 with dentist to population ratios and dental caries levels in 12-year-olds, sets the changes which have emerged against other changing dental disease patterns (including those unconnected with caries levels) and goes on to determine the significance of the findings to the problems of dental workforce planning. Data for the numbers of dentists and dentist to population ratios were obtained from published tables. Data for past caries levels in 12-years-olds were obtained from the WHO Global Data Bank. All other data were obtained from Chief Dental Officers in all countries of the EU. In 1994 there were 222,090 practising dentists in the EU and 12,853 other clinical workers of whom 11,493 were dental hygienists. Since 1970, the dentist:population ratios for Spain and Portugal have improved markedly, the improvement for other countries has been less marked and in Austria a small reduction has occurred. Six countries show a considerable reduction in caries levels for 12-year-olds between 1970 and the 1990s, five show smaller reductions and three show a deterioration. As a consequence of the general improvement in caries levels in most of these countries it is probable that workloads in relation to the treatment of caries are falling, particularly for younger age groups. However, because of the overall ageing of populations in many industrialised countries the workload for older age groups is increasing, as older adults increase in number, a greater proportion retain their teeth and are afflicted by a range of problems, which include, but are not exclusive to, dental caries. There are few data for these older age groups than for caries levels in 12-year-olds. It was concluded that those planning the EU dental workforce of the future should take account of reliable epidemiological data for all groups of the population and, as these are not currently available, that suitable periodic oral health surveys covering all population age groups should be carried out regularly in all EU member states.
|Title:||Changes in the numbers of dentists and dental caries levels in 12-year-olds in the countries of the European Union and economic area.|
|Keywords:||Child, Cross-Sectional Studies, Dental Caries, Dental Health Services, Dentists, European Union, Health Care Surveys, Humans|
|UCL classification:||UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute|
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