Dental clinic The global oral health situation

On March 20, the World celebrated World Oral Health Day which has been much aocated for by the International Dental Federation (FDI). The World Dental Federation came up with a theme for this year as “Smile for Life”. This means there should be strategies this year geared at ensuring a lifetime smile in regard to oral health as well as self-confidence.

To many people, dental health still sounds easier to understand but nowadays, oral health has been globally adopted to cover all entities of the mouth like the tongue, gum, cheek, lips, and the teeth. This year, a number of issues need to be looked at. These include

Disease burden
Currently, dental caries is the most common non communicable disease affecting mostly people in developed countries. This trend is steadily progressing in developing countries like Uganda and this is as a result of majority of the people taking sugars which are the main cause of tooth decay. However, natural sugars like those found in sugarcanes and fruits are good for our teeth.

Ninety per cent of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime ranging from dental caries, periodontal diseases and oral cancer. This means that nine out of 10 people are at risk of getting any of the diseases above if preventive measures are not quickly adopted, influenced or enforced through healthy public policies.

Sixty per cent of the world’s population enjoys access to oral health care, leaving the 40 per cent without any form of treatment. In Uganda, the situation is worse compared to the world statistics as there are few people who can easily have access to preventable dental care. The most common treatment in government facilities is tooth
extraction, other treatments that are recommended by dental health care professionals are mostly available in private dental care facilities.

Sixty per cent to ninety per cent of school children worldwide have dental caries. In simple terms, dental caries is a disease that attacks our teeth leaving them with cavities or holes caused by a number of factors but mostly, unhealthy life styles like poor oral hygiene and consumption of sugary foods and drinks which many of our parents or guardians unknowingly prefer to purchase for their children.

The writer is a dentist krdent@yahoo.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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