Maintenance of oral health as part of general health is a goal to the reach of which we dentists of all specialities can contribute.
There is still a lot to be done in this respect, and analysis of oral disease prevalence worldwide stands as proof. Untreated caries in permanent teeth is the world’s most prevalent disease, severe parodontitis comes on the sixth place and untreated decay of deciduous teeth comes tenth in range .
Talking about caries alone –one of the most extended diseases on earth, affecting people from all social categories, with good or poor general health, with or without special needs, either very young or mature – a look upon the evolution of oral health dynamics over the last 25 years does not show improvement of the prevalence of untreated decay in either permanent or deciduous teeth .
Where does this situation place us with regard to the ultimate goal of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future (ACFF), which says that ”every child born after 2026 should stay cavity free during their lifetime” ? We could say that the appropriate prevention measures, be they ellaborated by organizations such as WHO, have not been fully implemented and given the importance they deserve. This is why the World Summit on Early Childhood Caries held last year in Bangkok between November 2nd and 4th under the auspices of the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry (IAPD) was necessary and welcome. The Summit, reuniting experts from all over the world, concluded with a Declaration regarding prevention and treatment of Early Childhood Caries (ECC). This Declaration provides reccomendations aiming to reduce the prevalence and burden of dental caries in deciduous teeth worldwide. One of these reccommendations encourages raising awareness on the importance and need for caries prevention among parents and all stackholders in the field of health .
Within the same concept of better awareness and implication for oral health, the ERASMUS+ OSCAR (Oral Special Care Academic Resources) Project has just started. Specialists from four countries (France, Italy, Turkey and Romania) are now working together to set up a digital platform where dental practitioners shall be able to find practical information on how to manage and treat patients with general pathology with impact on oral health and care.
So there are still many things that can be done – and there is so much room still left for better involvement!
- Marcenes W, Kassebaum NJ, Bernabé E, Flaxman A, Naghavi M, Lopez A, Murray CJ. Global burden of oral conditions in 1990-2010: a systematic analysis.J Dent Res. 2013 Jul;92(7):592-597. doi: 10.1177/0022034513490168. Epub 2013 May 29.
- Kassebaum NJ, Smith AGC, Bernabé E, Fleming TD, Reynolds AE, Vos T, Murray CJL, Marcenes W, GBD 2015 Oral Health Collaborators. Global, Regional, and National Prevalence, Incidence, and Disability-Adjusted Life Years for Oral Conditions for 195 Countries, 1990-2015: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors.J Dent Res. 2017 Apr;96(4):380-387. doi: 10.1177/0022034517693566.
- Pitts, N, Baez, R, Diaz- Guallory, C, et al. Early Childhood Caries: IAPD Bangkok Declaration. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2019; 29: 384‐386.