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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1373-1374
Dealing with the neglected issue of oral health: Building a global consensus

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

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Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Dealing with the neglected issue of oral health: Building a global consensus. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1373-4

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Dealing with the neglected issue of oral health: Building a global consensus. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Sep 21];10:1373-4. Available from:

Dear Sir,

Oral health has been acknowledged as one of the core elements of ensuring a general health as it allows a person to talk, and socialize without experiencing any illness, distress, or embarrassment.[1] Technically, an optimal oral health marks a state of being free from different kinds of oral morbidities, including malignancies or congenital defects, which can limit a person's overall capacity to perform routine activities, maintains psychological well-being, and avoid impaired quality of life.[1] However, the overall caseload is determined by the geographical region, and availability and accessibility to the desired oral health services.[1],[2]

The current available global estimates suggest that up to 90% of the school children and almost 100% of adults have dental cavities, while close to one-fifth of the middle-aged adults have some form of severe gum morbidity and millions of individuals suffer from oral malignancy.[1] The rising trends of the oral diseases is not only because of the increase of risk factors, but also due to the minimal priority given to the problem by the program managers, limited financial allocation, and lack of effective preventive and control health interventions.[1],[3] Even though, determinants for oral illnesses are multiple, the common ones are consumption of an unhealthy diet (viz., refined carbohydrates such as sugars and sweets), tobacco or alcohol use, poor oral hygiene, and social attributes.[1],[3]

A major proportion of the oral ailments essentially require professional assistance, which is quite deficient or inaccessible to the elderly or people of low socioeconomic status or from remote settings.[2]

The high cost of dental treatment and the magnitude of oral diseases can be significantly reduced by neutralizing the risk factors through measures such as minimizing sugar consumption to less than 10% of the total energy intake, consuming a caries-prophylactic diet (viz., more of solid foods, foods rich in vitamins A, C, D, and minerals such as calcium, phosphates, fluorides) or diet rich in fruits and vegetables to protect against oral cancer, sustaining optimal levels of fluoride in the oral cavity, ensuring proper oral hygiene, and enabling safe physical environment, and motivating people to use protective equipments to minimize the risk of facial injuries.[1],[4],[5]

In addition, periodic screening of the oral health status and organization of awareness activities to motivate people to refrain from the common risk factors, especially in school settings, is also expected to reduce the burden of the problem.[1] Furthermore, in order to ensure that the public health interventions to reduce oral diseases are most effective, they should be integrated with other national health programs, community-based projects should be initiated to promote oral health, and technical support should be extended to nations to strengthen their oral health systems.[1],[2],[3]

To conclude, oral health has remained a neglected issue for many decades, and thus it is high time to prioritize the concern and actively focus on the prevention and control measures to minimize the burden of oral diseases globally.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

World Health Organization. Oral health-Fact sheet N 318; 2012. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 June 13].   Back to cited text no. 1
Vozza I, Cavallè E, Corridore D, Ripari F. Spota A, Brugnoletti O. Preventive strategies in oral health for special needs patients. Ann Stomatol (Roma) 2016;6:96-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Jevtić M, Pantelinaci J, Jovanović Ilić T, Petrović V, Grgić O, Blazić L. The role of nutrition in caries prevention and maintenance of oral health during pregnancy. Med Pregl 2015;68:387-93.  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. Sugars Intake for Adults Children-Guideline. Geneva: WHO Press 2015. pp. 1-26.  Back to cited text no. 4
Haque SE, Rahman M, Itsuko K, Mutahara M, Kayako S, Tsutsumi A. et al. Effect of a school-based oral health education in preventing untreated dental caries and increasing knowledge, attitude, and practices among adolescents in Bangladesh. BMC Oral Health 2016;16:44.  Back to cited text no. 5

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.196630

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