Objective: To determine the association between social, economic and behavioural risk factors and national prevalences of: oral cancer, dental caries (12-year-olds) and destructive periodontal disease (35-44-year-olds). Data sources: Sources for the social and economic parameters were the UN Development Program; the behavioural risk factors' source was the World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Atlas of History. Oral diseases data came from UICC Globocan and the World Health Organization databases. Data extraction: Data were extracted by hand from official publications. Data synthesis: Data were synthesized and analyzed in sequence using SPSS, Pearson's correlation coefficient and multiple regression analyses. Conclusions: There is a discernable association between the three oral diseases and the variables selected, which varies in strength, being strongest for chronic destructive periodontitis and weakest for oral cancer. Dental caries lies in between. The degree to which variables account for differences in the three oral diseases between the countries studied is striking, being insignificant for oral cancer incidence, modest for oral cancer mortality, stronger for dental caries and strongest for destructive periodontal disease. Removing variables with strong colinearity with the Human Development Index has little effect on the regression coefficients.
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