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Poor People have Fewer Teeth, Worse Dental Hygiene

Update Date: Nov 18, 2014 04:47 PM EST

Poor people have fewer teeth and worse oral dental hygiene than richer people, a new study reported.

For this study, the researchers from Newcastle University, University College London, Newcastle upon Tyne National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust and the National Center for Social Research examined the oral health of more than 6,000 participants.

The researchers discovered that oral health was the worst in the poorest 20 percent of the sample. These participants with lower income, lower occupational class, lower education level and higher deprivation were more likely to suffer from dental problems. Some of the symptoms they suffered from included tooth decay, gum disease, gaps in their teeth and fewer teeth.

"It's probably not a big surprise that poorer people have worse dental health than the richest, but the surprise is just how big the differences can be and how it affects people. Eight teeth less on average is a huge amount and will have had a big impact for these people," professor Jimmy Steele, head of the dental school at Newcastle University said according to BBC News. "From our data, it is hard to say which specific factors are driving each of the differences we are seeing here, but there is probably a real mix of reasons and it is not just about, for example, the availability of treatment."

The researchers concluded that local authorities should create new programs and initiatives that can increase education regarding dental hygiene. The younger generation should have a better knowledge on what habits can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay as well as what they can do to improve oral health.

The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research.

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