The World Health Organization (WHO) recently updated their fact sheet on the status of global oral health, which focuses on a number of different aspects and diseases that relate exclusively to this division of general health. The following represents a general overview of some of the most staggering information listed in this report:
- 60-90% of school children, and nearly 100% of adults, have dental caries.
- Severe periodontal disease affects 15-20% of adults (35-44 years old).
- About 30% of people aged 65-74 have no natural teeth.
- Oral cancer occurs in 1-10 cases per 100,000 people (most countries).
- 40-50% of HIV-positive people have oral fungal, bacterial, or viral infections.
- Cleft lip and palate occur in about 1 per 500-700 of all births worldwide.
- About 90% of children with Noma do not survive without treatment.
The report goes on to discuss other aspects of oral health, such as common causes for disease, prevention methods as well as available treatment options. More importantly, the WHO Global Oral Health Program also included a list of key policies and potential tactics for combating these adverse statistics; a few examples are as follows:
- Stimulate development and implementation of community-based projects for oral health promotion/prevention of oral diseases, with a focus on disadvantaged and poor population groups.
- Encourage national health authorities to implement public fluoride programs as an effective approach to preventing caries.
- Advocate a common risk factor approach that educates the relationship between oral and systemic health in order to simultaneously prevent related diseases.
- Enhance the degree of technical support for current oral health systems and integrate more public education in effective healthcare programs.
To earn CE on this topic, view the course Access to Care by Pamela Brilowski RDH.