Oral health is associated with the overall health of the community and therefore, directly impacts the quality of life achievable across a population.1-2 The oral cavity is where we get essential vitamins and minerals as well as our first line of defence when fighting microbial infections.1
Overall, self-rated oral health among Middlesex-London residents (12+) was high. Many people perceived their oral health as either “good” or “excellent”, as was the case in Ontario and the Peer Group in 2013/14. On the other hand, percentages of self-perceived oral health as either “fair” or “poor” was lower than what was seen in Ontario and the Peer Group in 2013/14.
Well over three-quarters (81.5%) of residents in Middlesex-London (12+) reported brushing their teeth at least twice daily, which was approximately the same across Ontario and the Peer Group in 2013/14. In Middlesex-London, females (88.6%) reported a higher percentage than males (74.1%), as did those who reported a higher education level and household income.
Among children in junior kindergarten (JK), senior kindergarten (SK), grades 2 and 7 in Middlesex-London schools, 31.2% had at least one tooth that was decayed/missing/filled due to decay during screening in the 2018/19 school year. Of these, approximately 8.0% needed critical or urgent oral health care.
Less residents in Middlesex-London reported experiencing oral or facial pain in the past month compared to Ontario and the Peer Group. In Middlesex-London, youth and adolescents (age 12−17) represented largest proportion or self-reported oral or facial pain in the past month in 2014/15.
In 2013/14, residents in Middlesex-London visited a dentist slightly more (73.5%) in past year compared to Ontario (72.7%) and the Peer Group (71.7%). However, in terms of frequency of dental visits (annually), Middlesex-London reported less annual visits compared to both Ontario and the Peer Group. Females reported more visits in both the past year and annually than males in Middlesex-London. More residents in Middlesex-London reported visiting the emergency department (ED) for non-traumatic oral health conditions in the past year compared to Ontario and the Peer Group. Those between the ages of 18 and 24 and those living in rural areas of the Middlesex-London region had the highest rates of ED visits.
Barriers to dental care can impact the quality of a person’s oral health. Approximately 32% of the Canadian population do not have dental insurance or government assistance for oral health needs.2 Similarly, approximately 35.0 % of the Middlesex-London population paid out-of-pocket for dental expenses in 2014/15. As income and education levels decreased, the percentage of residents in Middlesex-London, Ontario and the Peer Group who used dental care services also decreased.
1. Canadian dental association. The state of oral health in Canada. [Internet]. 2017 Mar. [cited 2019 Sept 24]. Available from: https://www.cda-adc.ca/stateoforalhealth/_files/TheStateofOralHealthinCanada.pdf
2. Zangiabadi, S., Costanian, C., Tamim, H. (2017). Dental care use in Ontario: The CCHS. BMC Oral Health; 17(165): 1-8.
Last modified on: November 19, 2019