Overcoming the inertia that exists in oral health with patient behavioral change1

Toothbrush man

Is behavior change the key to improving oral health?

Despite the huge efforts to improve oral health, almost half of the world's population2 is impacted by caries and severe gum disease still remains the sixth most common disease globally.3

Together these conditions are a major cause of tooth loss, which has a huge impact on quality of life, affecting nutrition, speech and self-confidence.3

It is estimated that 47% of dentate adults aged 30 years or over have some form of periodontitis, with nearly 8% having severe periodontitis.4 This figure increases to over 70% in adults age 65 and over.4

Without successful intervention, the scale of patients with gum disease is likely to grow as the number of Americans aged 65 and over is expected to treble by 2050 to 88 million.5

The problem seems to be that people don’t take improving oral health seriously, sticking to familiar habits and thinking that is enough. Because gum disease is a condition which few people talk about, there appears to be little motivation to do anything about it.6

This situation means there is an urgent need for more effective interventions to change attitudes and behavior toward caring for teeth and gums.

To understand this better, GSK is working with experts in behavioral psychology and economics to discover how the principals of behavioral science could help to overcome the inertia surrounding improving oral and gum health.