Survey Conducted at ADA/FDI World Congress Identifies Trends in Oral-Health Care in U.S. and

Dec. 1, 1996
Survey Conducted at ADA/FDI World Congress Identifies Trends in Oral-Health Care in U.S. and Worldwide

Survey Conducted at ADA/FDI World Congress Identifies Trends in Oral-Health Care in U.S. and Worldwide

Dentists in the United States say gum disease is a more pressing oral-health concern than tooth decay by a two-to-one margin, according to a survey conducted at the ADA/FDI World Dental Congress in Orlando. According to the survey, 38 percent of U.S. dentists, compared with 13 percent of international dentists, reported periodontitis as a pressing concern. Conversely, 39 percent of international dentists versus 17 percent of U.S. dentists say cavities are a major problem.

The computerized survey, sponsored by Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals, the professional oral-care products subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive, polled 325 U.S. dentists and 198 international dentists about general oral-care trends. The survey was administered by Pathfinder Research Group of Acton, Massachusetts, an independent opinion and market-research firm specializing in trend and leadership studies.

"As a global health-care company that tracks oral health-care trends, this is consistent with data we see in other countries," said Dr. Christopher Fox, director of global- professional relations for Colgate. "In the U.S., the cavity rate has declined as more people drink fluoridated water, brush with fluoridated toothpaste, see a dentist regularly and eat healthier. However, in other countries, particularly developing countries, cavity rates remain high and are even increasing, due to the greater availability of sugar and other carbohydrates and few resources emphasizing preventive dentistry."

The survey also shows that smokeless tobacco is still of great concern to dentists. According to the survey, 71 percent of all dentists indicate that smokeless- tobacco use has increased or stayed the same over the past two years. Among patients who use smokeless tobacco, dentists say 40 percent are between 18-29 years old. When asked about whether they query patients on tobacco use, eight out of 10 dentists say they ask patients about usage. Nearly three out of four U.S. dentists screen all patients for oral cancer. According to the ADA, tobacco use, including smokeless-tobacco use, contributes to the death of one person each hour from oral cancer.

With older patients, U.S. dentists said more are keeping their natural teeth. According to the survey, U.S. dentists say 53 percent of their patients over age 65 still have more than 20 natural teeth. The survey found that edentulousness has declined 39 percent among people over age 65 in the last five years.

When asked whether they are seeing more or less patients with eating disorders, approximately 27 percent said they are seeing more patients with eating disorders than they did five years ago, and that enamel erosion is the most common oral sign of some eating disorders.

Nearly two-thirds of dentists reported that patients are inquiring more about infection control than they did five years ago. To this end, 100 percent of U.S. dentists said they are sterilizing instruments with an autoclave, dry heat oven or chemclave.

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