Up-to-date information about the economic impact of dental diseases is essential for health care decision makers when seeking to make rational use of available resources. The purpose of this study was to provide up-to-date estimates for dental expenditures (direct costs) and productivity losses (indirect costs) due to dental diseases on the global, regional, and country level. Direct costs of dental diseases were estimated using a previously established systematic approach; indirect costs were estimated using an approach developed by the World Health Organization Commission on Macroeconomics and Health and factoring in 2015 values for gross domestic product and disability-adjusted life years from the Global Burden of Disease Study. The estimated direct costs of dental diseases amounted to $356.80 billion and indirect costs were estimated at $187.61 billion, totaling worldwide costs due to dental diseases of $544.41 billion in 2015. After adjustment for purchasing power parity, the highest levels of per capita dental expenditures were found for High-Income North America, Australasia, Western Europe, High-Income Asia Pacific, and East Asia; the highest levels of per capita productivity losses were found for Western Europe, Australasia, High-Income North America, High-Income Asia Pacific, and Central Europe. Severe tooth loss was found to imply 67% of global productivity losses due to dental diseases, followed by severe periodontitis (21%) and untreated caries (12%). From an economic perspective, improvements in population oral health may be highly beneficial and could contribute to further increases in people's well-being given available resources.
Keywords: dental public health; epidemiology; health services research; oral health; productivity losses; treatment expenditures.