Dental caries (or tooth decay) is our most prevalent disease, and hardly anyone living in present‐day Britain is completely free from it. More than 99% of the population have had teeth attacked by decay, sometimes so severely that a large proportion of their teeth have had to be extracted. The result of dental caries combined with gum disease is that 37% of all the people over 16 in England and Wales are edentulous (i.e. have had all their teeth extracted), while the figure for Scotland is even higher at 44%.
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