Over 6,000 adults participated in the study, which included representatives from all income groups and all geographical regions of the UK, according to an article in Newsweek. The research found that dental health - including tooth decay, gum disease, missing teeth and gaps between teeth - was significantly worse among the poorest 20% of society compared with the richest.
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the study was conducted by researchers from Newcastle University, University College London, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust and the National Centre for Social Research, with data also taken from the UK Adult Dental Health Survey.
Reported by the BBC, Professor Jimmy Steele, head of the Newcastle University dental school said, "It's probably not a big surprise that poorer people have worse dental health than the richest, but the surprise is just how big the differences can be and how it affects people. Eight teeth less on average is a huge amount and will have had a big impact for these people."
According to John Wildman, professor of health economics at Newcastle University Business School, the results of the study are important because oral health is a significant component of general health and wellbeing, reports Newsweek. ?Oral health contributes hugely to everyday wellbeing and addressing these inequalities may result in considerable improvements in quality of life for large numbers of individuals,? he said.