Today is the 4th annual World Oral Health Day. The FDI World Dental Federation initiated the first one in 2008 to raise oral health awareness around the world. This year’s theme is noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), often called chronic disease.
The Federation lists the reasons for this year’s theme on its website:
- Oral diseases, some including an infectious element, are among the most prevalent NCDs: tooth decay affects some 90% of the world’s population;
- Oral diseases share common risk factors with other NCDs such as cancer and heart disease;
- Behaviours such as smoking or excessive consumption of alcohol are immediately visible to dentists, who thus have an opening to discuss the issues raised in the Action Toolkit
The FDI World Dental Federation goes on to say that this year’s theme is especially appropriate because dentists have unique access to people who don’t consider themselves to be ill.
The World Health Organization explains that 3 out of every 5 people worldwide is killed by one of the 4 main noncommunicable diseases: diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease. All of these diseases can be linked to dental health in some way or another. Additionally, many common oral diseases are considered noncommunicable diseases as well. The FDI World Dental Federation is encouraging the dental community to step up and use this day (and the rest of the year!) to help patients who may be experiencing NCDs and may not even know it. They also hope to raise awareness of the risks of poor oral health and encourage proper dental hygiene.
Learn more about World Oral Health Day and why it started.