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News / October 1, 2009

Biggest dental

by Guy Hiscott

The National Adult Dental Health Survey 2009 will finally go live next Monday (5 October).

The survey had taken place every 10 years since 1968, but was delayed last year due to a ‘departmental reorganisation’, according the chief dental officer Barry Cockcroft.

At the time of his announcement at the BDA conference in May 2008, he promised that it would take place in 2009 and it was originally rescheduled for September this year.

Around 10,000 adults in Northern Ireland, England and Wales will have their teeth examined by 80 NHS dentists as part of the survey.

The research – carried out by a consortium led by the Office for National Statistics – will investigate attitudes to dental hygiene and treatment, and find out how healthy our teeth really are.

It’s aim is to reflect the current state of the adult nation’s oral health and is conducted by the Office of National Statistics and some dental schools.

Combined with results from the earlier surveys, this ‘snapshot’ will identify trends in dental health and in ways people seek treatment.

The survey is funded by the Northern Irish, English and Welsh Health Departments.

The research is being conducted by ONS in partnership with the Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency, and the National Centre for Social Research in England and Wales.

Each person will be interviewed about attitudes to dental care and will then be invited to take part in a 20-minute dental examination carried out in their own home by an NHS dentist.

Adults taking part are randomly sampled by ONS. They must be over the age of 16 – and must possess at least one natural tooth to participate.

At the time of the postponement, critics suggested the Government had opted for the delay due to the lack of access created by the April 2006 contract – and the effects on adult dental health because of this.