Improvement in oral health alone can offer the world substantial economic benefit as researchers have estimated that the yearly global economic impact of dental diseases amount to $442 billion.
The research by Stefan Listl from Heidelberg University in Germany, and colleagues estimated that the direct treatment costs due to dental diseases worldwide were at $298 billion yearly, corresponding to an average of 4.6% of global health expenditure.
In addition to treatment costs, there are indirect costs to consider, mainly in terms of productivity losses due to absenteeism from work.
Indirect costs due to dental diseases worldwide amounted to $144 billion yearly, corresponding to economic losses within the range of the 10 most frequent global causes of death.
While estimation of direct treatment costs was based on a systematic approach, for estimation of indirect costs, an approach suggested by the World Health Organisation's commission on macroeconomics and health was employed.
This approach factored in 2010 values of gross domestic product per capita as provided by the International Monetary Fund and oral burden of disease estimates from the US Global Burden of Disease Study.
‘Through this study, the authors have amplified the message that we need to increase the availability of internationally comparable data on dental treatment costs, disease-specific absenteeism from work and school, as well as intangible costs of oral diseases in terms of quality of life,’ said Timothy DeRouen, former president of American Associations for Dental Research (AADR).
The research, published by AADR and International Associations for Dental Research (IADR), appeared online in the Journal of Dental Research.
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Global oral health burden amounts to $442 billion. BDJ Team 2, 15148 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/bdjteam.2015.148