A research study has for the first time revealed data about dental cavities, periodontal disease, oral treatment needs, the use of dental prostheses and dental hygiene habits among the adult population in the Valencia region. The results show that 90% of people have cavities and 20-35% need prostheses.

"These data will make it possible to draw comparisons with other studies carried out in other autonomous regions and nationwide ones", José Manuel Almerich, co-author of the study and a scientist at the University of Valencia (UV), tells SINC.

The study, published in the journal Medicina Oral, Patología Oral y Cirugía Bucal, for the first time provides data about the situation with regard to cavities, periodontal disease, oral treatment requirements and the use of dental prostheses in two age cohorts (35-44 and 65-74) in the adult population of Valencia. The study also includes an analysis of these people's oral hygiene habits.

The prevalence of cavities was above 90% in the two samples studies. Social class and educational levels have an impact on the presence of cavities, with those with lower social and education levels having more cavities. Nationality also has an impact, with foreigners having more untreated cavities.

Among the people aged 65 to 74, 20.7% are 'totally toothless'. "From these data we can deduce that the dental status of the institutionalised geriatric population is significantly worse than that of elderly adults living in their homes", says Almerich.

In terms of periodontal disease, the second most prevalent problem, the most disadvantaged social classes again present the worst health status, while the need for dental prostheses fluctuates between 20-35% for the entire population studied, increasing in the older age group.

Bad habits starting in childhood

The study confirms our poor dental hygiene habits and rare visits to the dentist. "Preventive efforts should be aimed at raising awareness about the need for early diagnosis of problems and the best possible oral hygiene", the Valencian researcher suggests.

The findings of this study underline the need to improve dental care among adults. The authors highlight the need to develop new policies that will improve prevention as well as dental care measures "that will make it possible to improve the bucodental map within a few years".