The World Health Organization or WHO is the international body of the UN that is responsible for health care and for assessing the health situation of people around the world. They publish fact sheets periodically that detail a certain area of health care and give information on it from a global perspective. Their fact sheet is the one about oral health, and was published in April 2012.
On this fact sheet, we can see some very disturbing information. For instance, we can get to know that the most common dental problem are dental caries, and that they affect 60-90% of all children and nearly 100% of adults worldwide. Runners up for most common oral infection are periodontal disease, hereditary oral conditions, tooth loss and oral cancer, the latter which is on the rise in a very disturbing manner. Oral cancer is also mostly prevalent in men, particularly in older men of low socioeconomic status, as alcohol and tobacco use which, long since associated with low class status, are major contributors to the formation of oral cancer.
The fact sheet also monitors the prevalence of much more debilitating diseases, and mentions oral fungal and bacterial infections, cleft palate and noma as the most prevalent systemic oral conditions. The latter two affect mostly children, and noma alone kills about 90% of the children it comes into contact with, because most of the cases of noma happen near places with contaminated water supplies, and these places rarely have health care, and the children are usually left untreated.
These fact sheets would be an exercise in futility if it weren’t for the fact that the fine people at WHO also give responses and treatment options for these problems. One of the main things that they say could help eradicate the dental ills of the world is fluoridation of drinking water. if you maintain low levels of fluoride in the mouth, bacteria cannot proliferate as much, and tend to die out before they can make a dent in your enamel.
The other thing that they have been very heavily involved with is the worldwide anti-sugar campaign, although this policy is designed to lower levels of dental caries in first world countries only, and as such is an exclusive policy altogether. Propaganda against tobacco and alcohol consumption is also a top priority, as well as making sure people have access to safe drinking water. If strides can be made in the latter two, many of the dental ills of the world will be in the past. the fact sheet can be viewed in its entirety here:
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