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National Statistics
Publication, Part of

Adult Dental Health Survey - 2009, First release

Official statistics, National statistics, Survey
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
Wales, England, Northern Ireland
Geographical Granularity:
Country, Strategic Health Authorities
Date Range:
01 Jan 2009 to 31 Dec 2009


The Adult Dental Health Survey - 2009 First release has been amended since initial publication. The updated version indicates the report's status as a National Statistics publication, which was not included in the original version. The content and data in the report have not changed in any way.

This release presents some preliminary results from the 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey, covering Northern Ireland, England and Wales. A series of more detailed reports are due to be published in March 2011.

The 2009 Adult Dental Health Survey (ADHS) is the fifth in a series of national dental surveys that have been carried out every ten years since 1968.

The 2009 survey was commissioned by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care and was conducted on behalf of the Department of Health in England, the Welsh Assembly Health Department, and the Department of Health and Personal Social Services in Northern Ireland. The survey was carried out in England, Wales and Northern Ireland only: Scotland decided not to participate in the 2009 survey.

The survey consisted of a questionnaire interview with all adults aged over 16 years at all sampled households, and an oral examination of the mouth and teeth of all those adults who had at least one natural tooth. The survey was managed by the Office for National Statistics working in consortium with the National Centre for Social Research, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, and dental experts from the Universities of Birmingham, Cardiff, Dundee, Newcastle, and University College London.

The sample size for the survey was 13,400 households (1,150 in each English Strategic Health Authority and Wales, and 750 households in Northern Ireland). Data collection for the survey took place between October 2009 and April 2010, and the final household interview response rate was 60 per cent.

A total of 11,380 individuals were interviewed, and 6,469 dentate adults were examined, making this the largest ever epidemiological survey of adult dental health in the United Kingdom.

The main purpose of these surveys has been to get a picture of the dental health of the adult population and how this has changed over time.

The aims of the survey were to:

  • establish the condition of the natural teeth and supporting tissues
  • to investigate dental experiences, knowledge about and attitudes towards dental care and oral hygiene
  • to examine changes over time in dental health, attitudes and behaviour
  • to monitor the extent to which dental health targets set by the Government are being met.

This report covers the following topics:

  • Loss of all natural teeth
  • Functional dentition - adults with 21 or more teeth
  • Summary of tooth condition

Sound and untreated teeth

Restored, otherwise sound teeth

Decayed or unsound teeth

Decay on the crowns of the teeth

  • Regular dental attendance
  • Levels of dental anxiety.


  • Over the last 30 years the proportion of adults in England who had no natural teeth ("edentate") has fallen by 22 percentage points, from 28 per cent in 1978 to 6 per cent in 2009.
  • Eighty-six per cent of dentate adults had 21 or more natural teeth.
  • The average number of teeth among all dentate adults was 25.6.
  • Over three-fifths (61 per cent) of dentate adults said they attended the dentist for regular check-ups;
  • Twelve per cent of all adults (who had ever been to the dentist) were classified as having extreme dental anxiety.


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Last edited: 11 April 2018 4:01 pm