Inequalities in Oral Health in Canada - Infographic

Pan-Canadian Health Inequalities Reporting Initiative

Inability to chew firm foods is a measure of oral health.

1.8 million Canadians experience inability to chew, which can be caused by:

  • Illness (e.g. Parkinson's disease, stroke)
  • Tooth decay or pain
  • Missing teeth, lack of dentures or ill-fitting dentures

In Canada, the number of adults with an inability to chew increases with lower socioeconomic status.

The proportion of adults with an inability to chew is:

  • 3.9X higher for those who are permanently unable to work; this represents 19% of those who are permanently unable to work and 5% of those who are employed
  • 3.3X higher among those with the lowest income; from the lowest to the highest income group, the respective proportion adults with inability to chew is 13%, 8%, 6%, 5%, and 4%.
  • 2.9X higher for those with less than a high school education; this represents 13% of those with less than high school and 5% of university graduates.

Consequences of not addressing oral health inequities include:

  • Time lost from work or school
  • Increased risk for chronic diseases
  • Increased health care costs

Addressing gaps in income, employment and education would help reduce inequities in oral health by increasing access to, and knowledge about healthy foods, dental care, and oral hygiene.

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Source: Canadian Community Health Survey - Annual Component (2007-2008).

For more data on health inequalities in Canada, visit:

Suggested citation: Public Health Agency of Canada. Key Health Inequalities in Canada: A National Portrait. Ottawa : Public Health Agency of Canada; 2018.

©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2018 | Cat.: HP35-106/1-2018E-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-26206-2 |
Pub.: 170570

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