Dental bite – the hidden risk factors of tooth decay
In recent decades dentists have focused on the direct causes of dental decay such as sugar and soft drink consumption and lack of oral hygiene as part of oral health care. A recent review of the causes of dental disease, however, is using a different lens to look at the effects that low socio-economic status can play in increasing risk factors for tooth decay.
Metro North Oral Health Director of Research and Advocacy Dr Michael Foley outlined a broader view in the Australian Dental Journal that there was a strong link between low socio-economic status and tooth decay.
“It is important that we create a greater awareness of socio-economic causes of tooth decay to address some of the societal inequalities that contribute to dental
health,” Dr Foley said.
“Dental decay generates significant health, financial and social costs to individuals and communities, but risk factors are not necessarily random across
“People from lower socio-economic or disadvantaged backgrounds are clearly at an increased risk of suffering poor oral hygiene outcomes due to a range of casual pathways.”
Dr Foley said there were a range of socioeconomic links that impacted dental health that decision makers needed to aware of.
“The variables included ethnic issues, education level, household income, oral health behaviours and residential locations of people,” he said.
“By focusing on socio-economic factors we can better understand and deliver services to provide greater outcomes for our patients, and improve social inequalities and access to care,” he said.