Wales lagging behind in oral health

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The 2009 adult oral health survey has found that Wales is not on par with other parts of the UK when it comes to oral health.

The survey found that 1 in 10 people in Wales do not have any natural teeth and rates of decay were higher in Wales than England and Northern Ireland; in England, 1 in 17 people have no natural teeth and the figure is 1 in 14 in Northern Ireland.

The findings, which were released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics, suggest that oral health is worse in Wales, despite the fact that patients in Wales tend to visit their dentist more often than those in England and Northern Ireland; the survey found that nearly 7 in 10 people attend regular dental check-ups in Wales, while the figure is lower, at around 6, in both Northern Ireland and England.

The dental health survey is carried out every ten years and provides a snapshot of standards of oral health in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Overall, the results of the survey show that oral health has improved in all three nations; rates of decay have fallen and more people are attending regular dental check-ups.

NHS Information Centre chief executive, Tim Straughan, said that the survey showed an improvement in oral health across the board; however, there were significant regional variations and Wales appears to be lagging behind other countries.

A spokesperson from the Welsh Assembly, said that the improvements over the last decade must be recognised, despite the fact that Wales has not performed as well as England and Northern Ireland.

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