Kolkata, Mar 21 : Oral diseases pose a major health burden for many countries and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death.
The majority of oral health conditions are: dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal diseases, oral cancers, oral manifestations of HIV, oro-dental trauma, cleft lip and palate, and noma (severe gangrene disease starting in the mouth mostly affecting children).
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages.
Globally, it is estimated that 2.3 billion people suffer from caries of permanent teeth and more than 530 million children suffer from caries of primary teeth.
In most low- and middle-income countries, with increasing urbanization and changes in living conditions, the prevalence of oral diseases continues to increase. This is primarily due to inadequate exposure to fluoride (in the water supply and oral hygiene products such as toothpaste) and poor access to oral health care services in the community.
Marketing of food and beverages high in sugar, as well as tobacco and alcohol, has led to a growing consumption of products that contribute to oral health conditions and other noncommunicable diseases.
Dental caries result when plaque forms on the surface of a tooth and converts the free sugars (all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices) contained in foods and drinks into acids that destroy the tooth over time.
A continued high intake of free sugars, inadequate exposure to fluoride and a lack of removal of plaque by toothbrushing can lead to caries, pain and sometimes tooth loss and infection.
Periodontal disease affects the tissues that both surround and support the tooth. The disease is characterized by bleeding or swollen gums (gingivitis), pain and sometimes bad breath.
In its more severe form, the gum can come away from the tooth and supporting bone, causing teeth to become loose and sometimes fall out. Severe periodontal diseases are estimated to affect nearly 10 percent of the global population. The main causes of periodontal disease are poor oral hygiene and tobacco use. (UNI)