Do More Dentists Mean More Cavities?
An interesting new study has found that in Iceland, more dentists may mean more cavities. The study compared data of the number of dentists in Iceland to the number of dentists in other Nordic countries. It was noted that,"Iceland has 94 dentists for every 100,000 residents; while Norway has 88, Denmark 84, Sweden 83 and only 74 in Finland." The researchers then compared the data of the overall dental health of people in each region. Their results showed that:
"Icelandic teens get four-times more cavities than their peers in Denmark....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." (Ice News)
If the protocols and treatments that
Some studies may help explain why the dental health of Icelandic children is so poor. While the region has been advocating a better diet and they report obesity in Icelandic children has lowered, there is still a problem with adults consuming an unhealthy diet and there may be problems with the diet that the children are consuming, as well. One study found that there appeared to be a direct correlation between a higher instance of caries and an increased consumption of sugary snacks in five year old children in Iceland. Although many people in Iceland consume a diet of meats and seafood, there are many children and adults that snack on unhealthy foods that offer little nutritional value. When a person consumes high levels of
One other contributing factor which may explain why Iceland has more tooth decay might be the protocol they follow for treating children's dental health issues. While most of Europe, including Iceland, does not fluoridate the water, they do use fluoride varnishes. These varnishes may be applied up to three times per year or more on children's teeth.
While there are more dentists in Iceland, it does not appear that having more dentist means the public will have better dental health. What needs to be addresses is the underlying cause of the tooth decay and cavities, which is a diet that lacks nutrients and exposure to foods that are processed and sugary, which alter the internal body chemistry. If a preventative approach was applied, and more people consumed a nutrient-rich diet of whole foods that contain