World Oral Health Day
According to the WHO, oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide. World Oral Health Day is celebrated on March 20 every year. It is a global awareness campaign to raise awareness about oral health's importance. This campaign is supported by dental associations, oral health professionals, governments, and other organizations worldwide. It involves various activities such as oral health screenings, educational programs, and public awareness campaigns.
Theme Of World Oral Health Day
The theme for World Oral Health Day 2023 is "Be Proud of Your Mouth" The purpose of World Oral Health Day is to raise global awareness about the importance of dental health and its impact on overall health and well-being. This day provides an opportunity to celebrate progress in oral health, including advances in dental technology and the implementation of successful oral health programs.
History Of World Oral Health Day
The FDI World Dental Federation launched World Oral Health Day in 2013. The FDI is a global dental organization representing more than one million dentists worldwide. The first World Oral Health Day was celebrated on September 12, 2013, with the theme "Healthy Teeth for a Healthy Life." And then, it started to be celebrated annually on March 20 with a new theme each year. The new date was picked to reflect the following,
- Seniors must have 20 total natural teeth when their life ends in order to be considered healthy.
- 20 infant teeth should be present in children.
- A healthy adult must have 32 teeth overall, with no dental cavities.
- In terms of numbers, the above mentions can be written as 3/20, which means March 20.
Goal Of World Oral Hygiene Day
- To raise awareness about the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums by practising good oral habits such as brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, using mouthwash to remove plaque, preventing gum disease, and visiting the dentist regularly.
- To encourage and educate people to adopt healthy oral hygiene practices as part of their daily routine.
- The day aims to promote policies and programs that support better access to dental care for everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status or geographic location.
- To notify people about the link between oral health and other health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections.
Signs Of Poor Oral Health
- Tooth pain: Pain or sensitivity in your teeth can be a sign of tooth decay, gum disease, or an abscessed tooth.
- Bleeding gums: Gums that bleed when you brush or floss can be a sign of gingivitis or periodontitis, which are forms of gum disease.
- Bad breath: Persistent bad breath (halitosis), can be a sign of poor oral hygiene, gum disease, or other medical conditions.
- Loose or shifting teeth: Teeth that are loose or shifting out of position can be a sign of advanced gum disease or other dental problems.
- Discoloured teeth: Teeth that are discoloured or stained can be a sign of poor oral hygiene, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions.
- Mouth sores: Mouth sores that don't heal within a week or two can indicate an infection or other dental problem.
- Dry mouth: A lack of saliva can indicate poor oral hygiene, certain medications, or underlying medical conditions and can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Cracked or chipped teeth: Teeth that are cracked or chipped can be a sign of weakened enamel, which can be caused by poor oral hygiene, teeth grinding, or other factors.
Risks Associated With Poor Oral Health
- Bad breath: Ignoring oral hygiene procedures can also cause poor breath, impacting a person's confidence and social life.
- Oral cancer: Poor oral health can increase the risk of oral cancer, which can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early.
- Cardiovascular disease is associated with poor dental health, which increases the risk of a condition such as endocarditis. The bacteria that cause gum disease enter the blood circulation and cause heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are already at a higher risk of infections due to their compromised immune systems. When they experience poor health, their immune system may be further compromised, making them more susceptible to infections and slower to recover.
- Infections of the respiratory system: Since harmful bacteria in the mouth can enter the lungs through breathing, poor oral hygiene habits might raise the risk of respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia.
- Tooth decay and gum disease: Inadequate dental hygiene habits can result in tooth decay and gum disease, which can cause pain, discomfort, and, ultimately, tooth loss.
How To Raise Awareness Among Everyone
Spreading awareness about oral health is crucial to promoting better oral health practices and reducing the risks associated with poor oral health. Here are some ways to spread awareness on World Oral Health Day 2023.
Social media: Make use of social media to raise awareness about oral health. Distribute films, infographics, and other instructional materials highlighting the need to maintain good dental hygiene habits.
Community events: Plan for community events like workshops, conferences, oral health exams and other world oral health day activities to raise awareness of the value of oral health.
School programs: Collaborate with schools and educational institutions to organize oral health education programs for children and young adults. Encourage schools to implement oral health education programs as part of their curriculum.
Partnerships with healthcare professionals: Partner with dental clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals to conduct events and promote free oral health screenings and check-ups.
Media outreach: Reach out to media outlets, such as newspapers, television, radio, and other articles, to share information about World Oral Health Day and its significance.
Quick Facts About Oral Health
- Tooth decay is children's most common chronic disease, affecting over 530 million children worldwide.
- Children who receive dental sealants and fluoridated water can avoid cavities and save money from expensive dental care.
- Oral cancer is the 11th most common cancer globally, with an estimated 657,000 new cases and 330,000 deaths annually.
- Smoking increases the risk of gum disease by up to six times.
- 60-90% of school-aged children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities.
- Usage of tobacco and disease conditions such as diabetes plays a main risk factor for gum disease.
Smile, And Lets Your Teeth Breathe!
The bottom line is that maintaining good oral health is essential to our overall health. Practising good dental hygiene habits, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco use can help reduce symptoms and prevent dental problems, and promote good oral health. On World Oral Health Day 2023, let us remember the importance of taking care of our oral health. To raise awareness by working together, we can help in reducing the global burden of oral diseases and improve the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. Oral health matters!