Even though statistics show younger generations enjoy better oral health than ever, a study by an international team of researchers led by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and the University of Adelaide in Australia, has revealed they are more likely to complain about problems with their teeth and gums than older men and women.
Lead researcher, Professor Jimmy Steele, of Newcastle University's School of Dental Sciences, believes the underlying reason for the trend is that famous people who indulge in expensive cosmetic dental procedures, such as bleaching, are raising expectations among their admirers about the way their teeth should look and feel.
He says anecdotal evidence from within the dental profession suggests this increases demands on dentists, who say they are already overstretched yet are being placed under additional pressure to perform small miracles.
The findings of the study are published in the current edition of the academic journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology.
The research team analysed results from major dental surveys carried out in Britain and Australia, which included an element where adult participants aged 18 and over reported their perceptions of the health of their teeth and gums and the impact on their daily life in a questionnaire.
Participants were asked 14 questions, such as 'how often during the past year have you had painful aching in your mouth because of problems with your teeth, mouth or dentures?', and were told to rank their answers on a points scale. The higher the score, the worse they perceived the problems to be.
Losing teeth made a big impact on quality of life but once this was taken into account, the lowest total score was reported for the
Contact: Professor Jimmy Steele
University of Newcastle upon Tyne