World Oral Health Day
World Oral Health Day (WOHD) 2018, on 20 March, marks the launch of the three-year Say ‘Ahh’ campaign. Created by the World Dental Federation (FDI) the campaign aims to educate people of the need to keep a healthy mouth in order to maintain overall health and quality of life.
Oral diseases are major burdens and public health challenges for almost all countries globally, which urgently need to be prioritized and addressed. Oral diseases affect 3.9 billion people worldwide, with untreated tooth decay alone impacting almost half of the world’s population (44%), according to FDI.
The burden of oral disease is further compounded by its associated comorbidities with other NCDs, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers. Driven by common risk factors (tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets) and the same social determinants, oral diseases and most NCDs can benefit from a comprehensive and integrated response.
On WOHD, FDI is pointing out that despite the unacceptably high disease burden, oral health is still not considered a priority issue. The recent adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which recognise health as a major prerequisite for addressing economic, social and environmental development, provide an opportunity to change this. There is an urgent need for global commitments from countries to address and integrate oral health into broader general health and NCD policies.