Dictatorship is certainly bad for your teeth. An interesting article on ScienceDaily gives an overview of a poster presentation by National University of Colombia researcher John Harold Estrada-Montoya and was written up based on materials provided during the 96th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research in London, England. The presentation was titled “Does a Country’s Political Regime Influence Its DMTF Index”.
According to the article about the new study, the authors “sought to determine whether prolonged exposure to a given political regime affected the decay-missing-filled (DMF) Index in various countries according to the political typologies of Social Democratic, Conservative, Liberal and Dictatorial regimes”. From ScienceDaily:
This ecological epidemiological study based on secondary sources from the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Bank and various websites from countries that met the inclusion criteria. A country’s assignment to a political typology was determined by the political orientation of its ruling party.
The results from the 62 countries showed that countries categorized as Social Democratic and Liberal had better results in decreasing the DMTF Index (Social Democratic with a decrease of -65.72% and Liberal with a decrease of -53.97%) than did Conservative (with a decrease of -37.62%) and especially Dictatorial regimes (with an increase of +14.53%).
The authors note that the typology they used did not adapt well for Third World politics. They suggest the creation of new interdisciplinary typologies better suited to Third World political realities in order to further characterize and study the relationship between political regimes and oral healthcare indicators.
According to a landmark paper by Markku Larmas at the University of Oulu in Finland, the decay-missing-filled (DMF) Index used in the Estrada-Montoya study has “been used for 70 years and were originally meant to describe both dental status and treatment need in elementary school children. Since then its application to caries experience and severity determination has expanded. Today, WHO has standardized its use in oral health surveys in describing past and present caries experience in adults and the elderly as well”.