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Publication date: 
February 1, 2017


The Global Burden of Disease 2015 study aims to use all available data of sufficient quality to generate reliable and valid prevalence, incidence, and disability-adjusted life year (DALY) estimates of oral conditions for the period of 1990 to 2015. Since death as a direct result of oral diseases is rare, DALY estimates were based on years lived with disability, which are estimated only on those persons with unmet need for dental care. We used our data to assess progress toward the Federation Dental International, World Health Organization, and International Association for Dental Research’s oral health goals of reducing the level of oral diseases and minimizing their impact by 2020. Oral health has not improved in the last 25 years, and oral conditions remained a major public health challenge all over the world in 2015. Due to demographic changes, including population growth and aging, the cumulative burden of oral conditions dramatically increased between 1990 and 2015. The number of people with untreated oral conditions rose from 2.5 billion in 1990 to 3.5 billion in 2015, with a 64% increase in DALYs due to oral conditions throughout the world. Clearly, oral diseases are highly prevalent across the globe, posing a very serious public health challenge to policymakers. Greater efforts and potentially different approaches are needed if the oral health goal of reducing the level of oral diseases and minimizing their impact is to be achieved by 2020. Despite some challenges with current measurement methodologies for oral diseases, measurable specific oral health goals should be developed to advance global public health.


Kassebaum NJ, Smith AGC, Bernabe E, et al. Global, regional, and national prevalence, incidence, and disability-adjusted life years for oral conditions for 195 countries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors. Journal of Dental Research. 2017 Apr;96(4):380–387.