World Oral Health Day is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health. The 2019 theme, Say Ahh: Act on Mouth Health, motivates people to protect their oral health and promotes self-care, regular dental check-ups and risk factor management to prevent oral diseases and secure general health.
Dental caries is the most prevalent oral disease and NCD globally. An estimated 2.4 billion people suffer from dental caries of permanent teeth and 486 million children suffer from dental caries of primary teeth.
Risk factors shared with NCDs
Most oral diseases share modifiable risk factors (influenced by habits, behaviours and lifestyle) with other major NCDs, such as heart disease, cancer, lung diseases and diabetes. Shared risk factors include unhealthy, high-sugar diets, tobacco use and harmful levels of alcohol consumption. Oral health is essential to general health and well-being at every stage of life - controlling oral disease risk factors can also have a positive impact on the rest of the body.
Despite the overwhelming oral disease burden, oral health is still not considered a priority issue on the global health agenda. On World Oral Health Day, FDI calls for countries to address and integrate oral health into broader general health and NCD policies.
Oral health is essential health care
The upcoming United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in September 2019 provides an opportunity to push for oral health to be included in the discussion around essential health care services. The oral health community must ensure their voice is heard during the UHC debate so that oral health services are integrated within strategies addressing other NCDs, specifically, those aimed at health promotion, disease prevention and access to care.
This World Oral Health Day (20 March), let’s remember that the oral health and broader NCD community can confront oral diseases and other NCDs through ongoing collaboration and exchange.
- Oral health is still not considered a priority issue on the global health agenda
- On World Oral Health Day, FDI World Dental Federation calls for countries to address and integrate oral health into broader general health and NCD policies.