According to findings published by the Journal of Dental Research, poor people in the UK have eight fewer teeth than rich people by the age of 65; it has been suggested that low wages and poor standards of living are to blame for the divide in dental health.
The study was carried out by Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, UCL and the National Centre for Social Research. It also revealed that people who live in poor areas of the country and have lower levels of education will suffer with more with tooth decay, gum disease, and general tooth loss.
Lead author Professor Jimmy Steele, head of the dental school at Newcastle University, said that this was not a ‘big surprise’, but the effects will have a ‘big impact’ on the lives of poorer people in the UK. Senior lecturer at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL, Dr Georgios Tsakos, said that educating people living in deprived areas would help to reduce the problem. Dr Tsakos said; ‘It is not only being poor that affects their perceptions about their oral health and quality of life, but educational attainment can also make a major difference. This has profound implications for policy as intervening in earlier life could have a significant long term effect on oral health.’