One of the largest oral and dental health surveys in the world
Our dental and oral health is getting better and better. This is according to the Jönköping survey, one of the world's largest surveys of a population's dental health. But how much better have our mouths and teeth become? The study has been carried out every ten years since 1973. Together with the Centre for Odontology and Oral Health at the School of Health and Welfare, Jönköping University and the Department of Odontology at the Public Dental Service in Jönköping County, the study is now being conducted again.
Much has happened since the Jönköping surveys were first carried out fifty years ago. At that time, oral and dental health was a thing of concern. Caries were common well into old age and few people had their own teeth at the end of their life. Today the situation is different. Much of the progress that has been made can be attributed to the study.
Just over a thousand Jönköping residents aged between 3 and 80 years will have their teeth thoroughly examined in 2023, in order to monitor developments and get an overall picture of the state of Swedes' mouths and teeth.
"With the help of the results, dental care services in the whole of Sweden can see trends and correlations. The study is important for planning both resources and education in the dental field" says Ola Norderyd, senior dentist at the Department of Odontology and professor at the Division of Dentistry and Oral Health at the School of Health and Welfare.
Can our dental and oral health be improved?
One of the major conclusions of the Jönköping study has emphasized the importance of preventive care, or prophylaxis. This is considered to be behind much of the good oral health that we actually have in Sweden today. Despite this, the study shows that the rate of improvement might be waning.
"It seems that the rate of improvement has slowed down; for example, 80-year-olds have an average of 22 of their own teeth compared to 14 when the study started. One of the questions we ask ourselves is whether it can get so much better" says Ola.
The study will continue for most of the year. After that, data processing will last about two years. Ola is looking forward to seeing what kind of impact the study will have.