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World Oral Health Day - Know More About It!

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Sanjeev Kumar Singh 92% (193ratings)
World Oral Health Day - Know More About It!

In 2007, it was first declared that World Oral Health Day would be celebrated on 12th September, the birthday of FDI founder Dr. Charles Godon. In 2013, after full activation of the campaign, 20th March came to be known as the World Oral Health Day. 

Why 20th March?

The date was chosen quite strategically by the Federation Dentaire Internationale (FDI) and here are the things that it represents – 

  • Children should have 20 baby teeth

  • Seniors should have 20 natural teeth towards the end of their lives to be considered healthy

  • Healthy adults should have 32 teeth and 0 dental cavities 

World Oral Health Day 2021 theme

Every year, World Oral Health Day is celebrated following a particular theme. The theme for this year is ‘Be Proud Of Your Mouth'. In other words, value and take care of it. This year, we want to inspire change by focusing on the importance of oral health for overall health, because good oral health can help you live a longer, healthier life. And that is something worth taking action for.

What does ‘Oral Health’ consist of?

Oral Health consists of the following –

  • Healthy gums

  • Healthy teeth

  • Being able to speak, smile, taste, chew, swallow, smile without pain

  • Being able to speak, smile, taste, chew, swallow, smile with confidence

  • Being free of any disease of the craniofacial complex (relating to the cranium and the face)

What are some oral diseases and conditions?

According to a 2016 study by the Global Burden of Disease, oral diseases affect around 3.58 billion people all over the world. As per the World Health Organization, there are seven types of oral diseases and conditions, which plague most humans – 

  • Dental Caries or Tooth Decay

A microbial biofilm, also known as plaque, forms on the tooth surface and results in gradual decay. It converts free sugars from food into acid that dissolves the tooth enamel and the dentine. This can lead to infection and tooth loss if not taken care of. 

  • Periodontal (gum) disease

This disease affects the tissue that surrounds and supports the tooth. It results in gingivitis (swollen or bleeding gums), bad breath, pain, and periodontitis (loosening of teeth). Severe tooth loss and edentulism (zero natural teeth remaining) was one of the top reasons for YLD (Years Lived with Disability) in quite a few high-income countries. 

  • Oral cancer

This includes cancer of the oral cavity, oropharynx and is mostly brought about by the usage of betel quid (areca nut), alcohol, and tobacco. Over five people in India die every hour due to oral cancer. 

  • Oral manifestation of HIV infection

About 30 to 80% of people with HIV suffer from various oral problems like oral candidiasis (infections), oral HIV lesions, etc.

  • Oro-dental trauma

It is an impact injury to the teeth and/or surrounding soft and hard tissues. 

  • Noma

It is a necrotizing disease, which affects children suffering from malnutrition. It is fatal in 90% of cases.

  • Cleft lip and palate

This mostly happens due to genetic predisposition. However, tobacco consumption and poor maternal nutrition are also contributing factors. 

What are some of the pledges that people are making for the 2020 World Oral Health Day?

Motivated by various oral health campaigns, more and more people are now pledging to the following – 

  • Brush their teeth even when they are too tired

  • Cut down on sugary treats

  • Keep their mouth and body healthy

  • Always keep their mouth clean

  • Keep the mouth healthy all their life

  • Inspire others to look after their mouth

  • Make time to go to the dentist

  • Encourage people to keep smiling all their lives

Let us join the cause, make a pledge of your own and empower a hundred others to strive towards oral health.

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