In 1993, 19% of eight-year olds in the UK had tooth decay, against 53% of 12 year-olds, according to the 10-yearly survey of more than 17,000 pupils. By age 15, 37% percent of children were free from decay, as opposed to 7 percent in 1983. 30% of 15 year-olds had active, untreated decay compared to 42 percent in 1983. Only 7% of children had suffered a tooth extraction by age 15, compared with 24% in 1983.
A 1994 British study of tooth decay among 12-year-olds in 90 countries found that throughout the world, dental decay rises proportionally with sugar consumption. But when researchers examined data from 29 industrialized nations, there was no evidence of a link between sugar and tooth decay. These results suggest that in addition to sugar, other factors -- including improved diet, fluoridated water and even genetics -- play an important role in reducing tooth decay.