WORLD ORAL HEALTH DAY
Every year on March 20th World Oral Health Day encourages people around the world to make a pledge to look after their oral health.
According to the FDI World Dental Association, oral diseases affect nearly 4 billion people around the globe. Untreated tooth decay is the most prevalent oral health issue. Other common oral health issues around the world include gum disease, oral cancer, and tooth loss. About 30% of people between the ages of 65 and 74 have no natural teeth.
When a person has poor oral health, it may affect their physical appearance. This contributes to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Poor oral health even contributes to problems in school, at work, and in relationships.
Besides affecting physical appearance, poor oral hygiene leads to a variety of health issues including cardiovascular disease, dementia, chronic infections, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and kidney disease.
The good news is, many of these oral health issues can be greatly reduced or eliminated with good oral hygiene. This includes brushing the teeth twice a day, daily flossing, and routine dental exams. Unfortunately, however, due to lack of dental supplies and access to dentists, people in underdeveloped countries struggle with maintaining good oral health.
HOW TO OBSERVE WORLD ORAL HEALTH DAY
Dental associations around the world, along with dentistry students, dentists, and other health professionals hold free dental screenings, free oral cancer screenings, and oral health seminars. Some dentists provide free or low-cost basic dental services. Other dentists hold toothbrush drives. During the toothbrush drive, dentists collect new toothbrushes and other dental supplies and disperse them to local charities.
The best thing you can do to participate is to make a pledge to look after your oral health. Here are some other ways to participate:
- Organize a toothbrush drive in your community.
- Schedule your routine dental exam.
- Learn how your oral health impacts your overall health.
- Thank your dental team for helping you maintain good oral health.
Don’t forget to spread awareness for this day on social media with #WorldOralHealthDay or #WOHD
WORLD ORAL HEALTH DAY HISTORY
The FDI World Dental Federation launched World Oral Health Day in 2007. The day was originally celebrated on September 12th, which is the birthdate of FDI founder, Dr. Charles Godon. In 2013, to avoid conflict with the FDI World Dental Congress in September, the date was changed to March 20th. The date reflects the importance of the number 20 when it comes to oral health. Seniors should have 20 natural teeth at the end of their life to be considered healthy. Also, children should possess 20 baby teeth.
Recent themes for World Oral Health Day include:
2020: Unite for Mouth Health
2019: Say Ahh: Act on Mouth Health
2018: Say Ahh: Think Mouth Think Health
2017: Live Mouth Smart
2016: Healthy mouth. Healthy body.
2015: Smile for Life!