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ORAL HEALTH: A Gateway to overall health

by Shalini Bhardwaj

Dr.Anil Chandna, Executive member, DCI

Oral diseases have become a major public health problem and its rate is escalating in developing and under developed countries. Prevalence of oral diseases is very high in India with dental caries 50%, and periodontal or gum diseases 55.4%, respectively, are the two most common oral diseases. It is a well-documented fact that there is an association of oral health with various systemic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, pregnancy and it greatly impact the quality of life. Orofacial pain and loss of sensorimotor functions affects various functions like eating, drinking and swallowing. The majority oral health diseases are: dental caries, periodontal or gum diseases, oral cancer, oral manifestation of HIV, clefts etc., most of these conditions are treatable at their early stages. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 estimated that oral diseases affect close to 3.5 billion people worldwide, with caries of permanent teeth being the most common condition. Globally, it is estimated that 2.3 billion people suffer from caries of permanent teeth and more than 530 million children suffer from caries of primary teeth. In developing and underdeveloped countries, with increase in urbanization and change in lifestyle has markedly increased the prevalence of oral health conditions. The primary cause behind this is inadequate fluoride application, poor availability of health care services, increase tobacco and alcohol consumption, increase marketing of products and beverages rich in sugar components. Over decades, health in India is gaining less importance and oral health, the least. There is an urgent need for an Oral health Policy for the nation as an integral part of the National Oral Health Care Programme Health Policy. PREVENTION:

  1. Oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people.
  2. Untreated dental caries (tooth decay) in permanent teeth is the most common
    health condition according to the Global Burden of Disease 2017.
  3. More than 530 million children suffer from dental caries of primary teeth
    (milk teeth).
  4. Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is also
    very common, with almost 10% of the global population affected.
  5. Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is also
    very common, with almost 10% of the global population affected.
    As per the resolution no. 5, Govt. of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has declared AIIMS
    as a nodal agency to implement pilot project on Oral Health in the country since the year 1999. The main
    objectives of this programme are to improve the oral health of the masses and to prevent/ reduce the
    burden of oral disease in the country. Towards this objective, the Nodal Agency has developed an
    accessible, low-cost, sustainable, primary preventive programme using existing primary health care
    infrastructure and resources.
    The programme has 3 basic components
    (1) To provide oral health education to masses through a network of Dental Surgeons, Health Care
    Workers, Anganwadi Workers and Schoolteachers
    (2) To produce Information, Education and Communication material (IEC) to train the Health
    Workers and for conveying oral health messages to the people through mass media and,
    (3) To formulate guidelines to strengthen oral health set-up at District level, Community Health
    Centers and Primary Health Centers.

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