Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS)

Statistics Canada collected data for the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) from about 6,000 people in 15 communities randomly selected across Canada between March 2007 and February 2009.  The sample represents 97% of the Canadian population aged six to seventy-nine years old.

The Oral Health Module of the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) is a result of a collaborative partnership between three federal departments: Statistics Canada, Health Canada and the Department of National Defence.

Oral Health Statistics 2007- 2009

Dental Insurance

  • 62% of Canadians have private dental insurance
  • 6% have public insurance
  • 32% have no dental insurance

Self Report Oral Health

  • 12% of Canadians avoid certain foods because of problems with their teeth or mouth in the past year.
  • 12% of Canadians report that they had ongoing pain in their mouth in the past year.

Visiting a Dental Professional

  • 74% of Canadians have seen a dental professional in the last year.
  • 17% of Canadians avoided going to a dental professional in the last year because of the cost.
  • 16% of Canadians avoided having the full range of recommended treatment due to the cost in the last year.

Time Lost

  • An estimated 2.26 million school-days and 4.15 million working-days are lost annually due to dental visits or dental sick-days.


  • 57% of 6-11 year olds have or have had a cavity.
  • 59% of 12-19 year olds have or have had a cavity.
  • The average number of teeth affected by decay in children aged 6-11 and 12-19 year olds is 2.5.
  • Although cavities are largely preventable, 96% of adults have a history of cavities.
  • 6% of adult Canadians no longer have any natural teeth.
  • 21% of adults with teeth have, or have had, a moderate or a severe periodontal (gum) problem.

Preventive Behaviours

  • 73% of Canadians brush twice a day
  • 28% floss at least 5 times a week
  • 32% of children aged 6-11 have one or more sealants.
  • The average number of teeth that were sealed in children aged 6-11 years old age is 2.88.
  • The average number of teeth that were sealed in adolescents (12-19 years of age) is 3.51.
  • Sealants were found in 51% of adolescents (12- 19 years of age).


Sealants are plastic coverings placed on the chewing surfaces of back teeth to help keep teeth free from decay.

Treatment Needs

  • 34% of Canadians ages 6-79 years of age (who have teeth) had some sort of treatment need identified by the dentists.

Dental Fluorosis

Dental Fluorosis is a condition caused by a child receiving too much fluoride during tooth development, i.e. under the age of six. In its mildest form, fluorosis may affect the look of a tooth, but will not affect its function. For example, mild fluorosis can lead to white stains on the teeth. Moderate fluorosis is the point at which a person could notice visible changes of a cosmetic concern on the surface of the tooth. Severe fluorosis, caused by excessive intake of fluoride, may cause damage to tooth enamel. Severe fluorosis can be painful and lead to problems with chewing.

  • So few children have moderate or severe fluorosis that, even combined, the prevalence is too low to permit reporting.

This finding provides validation that dental fluorosis remains an issue of low concern in this country.

For more information, see Office of the Chief Dental Officer

Page details

Date modified: