World Oral Health Day

Organised annually on 20 March, World Oral Health Day is observed to raise global awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of oral hygiene so that governments, health associations and the general public can work together to achieve healthier mouths and happier lives. World Oral Health Day aims to recognise the importance of good oral health and unite to reduce the burden of oral diseases which affect individuals, health systems, and economies everywhere. It also aims to empower people with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to secure good oral health

Oral diseases are a major health concern for many countries and negatively impact people throughout their lives. 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime, many avoidable. Oral diseases lead to pain and discomfort, social isolation, and loss of self-confidence, and they are often linked to other serious health issues. And yet, there is no reason to suffer – most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages. 

Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping one’s mouth clean and free of disease and other problems by regular brushing of the teeth and cleaning between the teeth. Oral hygiene must be carried out regularly to enable the prevention of dental disease and bad breath. The most common types of dental disease are tooth decay which includes cavities, and dental caries and gum diseases, including gingivitis, and periodontitis. General guidelines for adults suggest brushing at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and brushing last thing at night and at least on one other occasion. Cleaning between the teeth is called interdental cleaning and is as important as tooth brushing. This is because a toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth and therefore only removes about 50% of plaque from the surface of the teeth. There are many tools to clean between the teeth, including floss, tape and interdental brushes; it is up to each individual to choose which tool they prefer to use. Sometimes white or straight teeth are associated with oral hygiene. However, a hygienic mouth can have stained teeth or crooked teeth. To improve the appearance of their teeth, people may use tooth whitening treatments and orthodontics.

More than 130 countries take part in World Oral Health Day which is organised by the FDI World Dental Federation. World Oral Health Day was launched on 20 March 2013 by the FDI World Dental Federation which also marks the launch of a year-long campaign to raise awareness of oral health and the prevention of oral diseases. Since 2013 these campaigns have featured a specific theme. Since 2014 and in collaboration with its daughter organisation, the International Association of Dental Students or IADS, FDI organises an annual worldwide competition for best awareness and prophylactic activities held by dental student organizations in celebration of World Oral Health Day.

The campaign theme for the years 2021 to 2023 is Be Proud of Your Mouth. This theme that spans three years sends out a simple but powerful message to value and take care of our mouths. This year, the campaign wants to inspire change by focusing on the importance of oral health at every stage of life, because no matter what age one is, caring for the mouth and looking after oral health is important.

So take care of your oral health,  because establishing good oral hygiene and dietary habits have proven to be essential to achieving and maintaining, overall physical and emotional well-being throughout life.