Oral diseases affect some 3.9 billion people

Evid Based Dent. 2013;14(2):35. doi: 10.1038/sj.ebd.6400925.


Data sources: Medline, Embase, Lilacs.

Study selection: Published and unpublished observational population-based studies presenting information on the prevalence, incidence, case fatality and cause-specific mortality related to untreated caries, severe periodontitis and severe tooth loss between January 1980 and December 2010. There were no language restrictions. Study quality was assessed using the STROBE checklist (http://www.strobe-statement.org/).

Data extraction and synthesis: Prevalence estimates were calculated on the database for all age-gender-country-year groups using a specifically developed Bayesian meta-regression tool. Disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) and years lived with disability (YLDs) metrics were used to quantify the disease burden. Disability weights were calculated based on population-based surveys in five countries (USA, Peru, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Indonesia) and an open Internet survey. Uncertainties in estimates were examined using Monte Carlo simulation techniques with uncertainty levels presented as the 2.5th and 97.5th centiles, which can be interpreted as a 95% UI.

Results: Oral diseases remain highly prevalent in 2010 affecting 3.9 billion people. Untreated caries in permanent teeth was the most prevalent condition evaluated for the entire GBD (Global Burden of Disease) 2010 Study with a global prevalence of 35% for all ages combined. Severe periodontitis and untreated caries in deciduous teeth were the 6th and 10th most prevalent conditions, affecting, respectively, 11% and 9% of the global population. Oral conditions combined accounted for 15 million DALYs globally (1.9% of all YLDs and 0.6% of all DALYs), implying an average health loss of 224 years per 100,000 people. DALYs due to oral conditions increased 20.8% between 1990 and 2010, mainly due to population growth and aging. While DALYs due to severe periodontitis and untreated caries increased, those due to severe tooth loss decreased.

Conclusions: The findings highlight the challenge in responding to the diversity of urgent oral health needs world-wide, particularly in developing communities.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Tooth Diseases / epidemiology*