New research published into Nordic dental health

New research suggests that Icelanders’ dental health is far worse than in the other Nordic countries, despite having proportionately more dentists. Icelandic teens get four-times more cavities than their peers in Denmark.

The new research was carried out by Iceland’s Ministry of Welfare and draws a dark picture of Icelandic teeth compared to Scandinavia.

Among 12 year-old children the difference is striking: Icelandic dentists find on average two cavities during each 12 year-old’s visit — which is double the figure for Norwegian children, who come out second-worst. The Icelandic result is four-times worse than for Danish 12 year-olds.

The difference transcends age as the research suggests Icelanders, as well as Finns, are most likely to have false teeth. 33 percent of Finns and Icelanders between the ages of 65 and 74 do not have their own teeth. This compares to 18 percent of Danes and seven percent of Norwegians.

In this regard, reported, the number of dentists in Iceland becomes interesting; as there are proportionately more than in any other Nordic country. Iceland has 94 dentists for every 100,000 residents; while Norway has 88, Denmark 84, Sweden 83 and only 74 in Finland. The proportion of those dentists who specialise solely in cleaning teeth (hygienists) is, conversely, much lower in Iceland than the other four countries.

Icelandic dentists’ state funding increased by five percent between 2008 and 2010 while cost to patients went up by seven percent in the same period. There is, therefore, little evidence to suggest that increased funding and a high number of dentists are achieving results.