An ten-year oral health study has found that people in Perth County brush their teeth less regularly than average, and that male residents are less likely to visit the dentist than most Ontario men.
The Oral Health in Perth County report looked at residents aged 12 and over for the past decade.
It also found that seniors, low income earners , and those who don’t graduate highschool, also struggle to access dental care, and end up with higher rates of dental disease.
Ontario Public Health Standards currently require the health unit to provide dental services to children, but not to adults.
Public Health Manager Jacqui Tam says the study results mean they need to look at ways to address the inequities in access to dental services for adult residents
A look at fluoride levels in the county found that higher levels in drinking water resulted in fewer cavities for Grade 2 students. It also found the severity of tooth decay was lower in schools with higher fluoride concentrations in drinking water.
In Perth County, naturally occurring fluoride is present in drinking water and the concentration varies across the region. The fluoride levels present in Perth County drinking water are considered acceptable.
At higher levels, there is a risk of dental fluorosis in children, which is usually mild and cosmetic in nature.
“The health unit will continue to provide advice to residents and parents of young children about when to use area tap water for drinking and cooking,” says Tam.
• Oral Health Status and Water Fluoride Levels in Perth County. By Perth District Health Unit. April 2015.
• Oral Health Status in Perth County. By Perth District Health Unit. April 2015.