In 2010, Health Canada published a report on the dental health of Canadians, based on the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) conducted by Statistics Canada. The results showed that 75% of Canadians visit a dental clinic annually and 86% do so at least once every 2 years. This is a significant improvement from the early 1970s, when barely half of the population consulted a dentist on an annual basis.
Collectively, Canadians have experienced significant decreases in levels of dental decay over the past 40 years. According to Health Canada's Report on the Findings of the Oral Health Component of the Canadian Health Measures Survey:
Overall, the survey indicates that Canadians have very good levels of oral health. The following are a few of the survey's high-level findings:
The Inuit Oral Health Survey (IOHS), conducted in 2008-2009, found that compared to non-Indigenous Canadians, more Inuit reported poor oral health and higher frequency of food avoidance and oral pain. Fewer than half made a visit for dental care, even though very few reported that costs were a factor in avoiding a visit or accepting recommended treatment.
The prevalence of coronal caries was very high among Inuit. More than 85% of preschoolers had dental caries with a mean of 8.22 deciduous (baby) teeth affected. By adolescence, 97.7% had been affected and among the oldest adults, the disease had affected the entire population. Counts of decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth increased at every age, from 2 (aged 6-11 years), to 9.5 (for adolescents), to 15 (aged 20-39 years) and over 19 (for older adults). The prevalence and mean DMFT counts exceeded similar counts for non-Indigenous Canadians by a significant margin. Much of the disease remained untreated and there were more extractions among the Inuit. Among Inuit adolescents, there were 20.3 extractions per 100 teeth filled, much higher than findings for non-Indigenous adolescents, who had only one tooth extracted per 100 filled.
While Canada's oral health care measures are generally above average compared with countries around the world, there are inequities in oral care. In particular, Canadian families and individuals with lower incomes and of lower socio-economic status, those without dental insurance, older Canadians and Indigenous Canadians experience worse overall oral health outcomes than the general population.