Data and statistics

The most frequent oral diseases are dental caries (cavities), periodontal (gum) disease, oral cancer, oral infectious diseases, trauma from injuries and hereditary lesions.

Quick facts and figures

  • In Europe, 20–90% of 6-year-old children have dental caries.
  • At age 12, an average of 0.5–3.5 teeth are affected by dental caries, and nearly 100% of adults have experience of the disease.
  • Severe periodontal (gum) disease is found in 5–20% of middle-aged (35–44 years) adults in Europe, and up to 40% of older people (65–74 years).
  • Dental caries and severe periodontal disease are major contributors to the loss of natural teeth. About 30% of Europeans aged 65–74 years have no natural teeth which reduce their function and quality of life.
  • In Europe, the incidence of oral cancer ranges from 5 to 10 cases per 100 000 people.
  • The prevalence of oral cancer is relatively higher in men, in older people and among people of low education and low income.
  • In particular eastern Europe and central Asia show high prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS. Almost half (40–50%) of people who are HIV-positive have oral fungal, bacterial or viral infections.
  • In European countries, dental trauma may affect up to 40% of schoolchildren due to unsafe playgrounds, unsafe schools, road accidents or violence.
  • Birth defects such as cleft lip and palate occur in about one per 500–700 of all births. This rate varies substantially across different ethnic groups and geographical areas.

In the European Region as a whole, the average number of teeth affected by dental caries among children aged 12 years has been declining from 3.0 in 1990 to 1.8 in 2015. However, inequities still exist in the burden of oral disease within countries and across the Region. The lowest prevalence rate of dental caries in children aged 6 years is 17%, whereas the highest is 94%. The prevalence rate of older people (65–74 years) having lost all their natural teeth varies from 5% to 51%.