Who has the healthiest teeth in Europe?
BERLIN, Germany: A study of European countries has found that people in Italy, Germany and Spain have the best dental health in Europe. The three countries topped an index compiled by the digital medical platform Qunomedical, which scored European populations’ dental health, as well as the environmental and lifestyle factors that influence it.
Researchers at Qunomedical assessed the dental health of the populations of 24 European Union member states, plus the UK and Switzerland. Countries were ranked on an index based on available data concerning dental health and factors of dental health, including access to dental facilities and dental schools, fluoridation strategies, and the consumption of alcohol, sugar and tobacco.
Italy was ranked first on the index, despite ranking seventh among the 26 countries for dental condition, which was scored 1.2. The population was found to have access to a high number of dental facilities—77 per 100,000 inhabitants. The index showed that the average annual per capita alcohol consumption in Italy of persons aged 15 years and over was 7.5 l, that 23.7% of Italians aged 15 or over smoked and that the average annual per capita consumption of sugar in Italy was 27.2 kg.
In second place, Germany had a score of 0.5 for dental condition, and the country was shown to have 82 dental facilities per 100,000 inhabitants. The index showed that Germany’s average annual per capita alcohol consumption (13.4 l) was nearly double that of Italy, that 30.6% of those in the country aged 15 and over smoked and that the average German consumed 36.9 kg of sugar annually.
Ranked third, the population in Spain scored 1.1 for dental condition, and the country had 72 dental facilities per 100,000 inhabitants. The index showed that annual per capita alcohol consumption of those aged 15 and over was 10 l, that 29.3% of the same age group smoked and that the average Spaniard consumes 23.4 kg of sugar annually.
Latvia, Slovakia and Croatia were the lowest ranking countries on the index, and the populations of all three countries were shown to have poor dental health. Latvia scored 3.4, Slovakia had the lowest of all scores for dental condition, at 5.1, and Croatia had a score of 4.2.
Greece, which ranked 16th on the index, was found to have the highest number of dental facilities—125 per 100,000 inhabitants—but also the highest percentage of tobacco users, at 43.4%. Switzerland was ranked 15th on the index and was found to have the highest consumption of sugar, at 49.5 kg per capita per annum.
The Healthiest Teeth Index was compiled in recognition of World Oral Health Day 2020. The researchers used the decayed, missing, filled teeth index to assess dental condition. Sugar consumption and access to dental facilities were assessed using data from Malmö University. Alcohol consumption and tobacco use were assessed using data from the online alcohol consumption and smoking databases compiled by researchers Drs Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser of the Our World in Data research and data initiative. Fluoridation measures were assessed using data from the EU Manual of Dental Practice of the Council of European Dentists.
Editorial note: The EU member states Czech Republic, Cyprus and Luxembourg were not included in the index because the data necessary for comparison was not available, the researchers said.