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
Hence the date 20/3.
World Oral Health Day 2020 theme
Every year, World Oral Health Day is celebrated following a particular theme. The theme for this year is ‘Unite for Mouth Health’.
What does ‘Oral Health’ consist of?
Oral Health consists of the following –
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 –
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.
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.
It is an impact injury to the teeth and/or surrounding soft and hard tissues.
It is a necrotizing disease, which affects children suffering from malnutrition. It is fatal in 90% of cases.
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
This 20th March, join the cause, make a pledge of your own and empower a hundred others to strive towards oral health.