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, work, and relationships.
Besides affecting physical appearance, poor oral hygiene leads to various 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 significantly 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 a lack of dental supplies and access to dentists, people in underdeveloped countries struggle with maintaining good oral health.
World Oral Health Day History
The FDI World Dental Federation launched World Oral Health Day in 2007. The day was initially 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.