20th March 2017

World Oral Health Day (WOHD)

Our mouth allows us to carry out a lot of functions that we may often take for granted, from speaking and tasting to forming a smile or a grimace!

WOHD, which takes place on the 20th March every year, celebrates the benefits of a healthy mouth and raises awareness of issues around oral health.

This year’s campaign, Live Mouth Smart, focussed on actions that should be taken to maintain a healthy mouth and can be essentially summarised into these four key points1:

  1. Adopt good oral hygiene

    Did you know: it is advised that you should not rinse your mouth immediately after brushing but rather one should spit out the excess toothpaste. This is because rinsing washes away the fluoride in your mouth reducing its preventative effects.2

  2. Safeguard oral hygiene

    Did you know: babies’ teeth begin to develop before they are born but in a majority of cases don’t appear until they are between the ages of 6 and 12 months old. As soon as they do, they should start to be cleaned with a fluoride toothpaste.3

  3. Avoid risk factors

    Did you know: 65% and 30% of oral cancer cases have been linked to exposure to tobacco smoke and alcohol consumption respectively.4

  4. Understand that good oral health is beyond having a perfect smile

    Did you know: some whitening kits can harm tooth enamel and the gums.5

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime. The most common of these include dental cavities and gum disease, both of which are major causes of tooth loss6.

However, studies have shown that oral health plays a bigger role, beyond our mouths, and has been linked to systemic diseases such as diabetes7 and pneumonia8.

By developing good oral habits, we can avoid many oral ailments to achieve healthier mouths.

For more information about WOHD and oral health, you can visit the official site: http://worldoralhealthday.org/, which contains a range of resources including a gaming app, ‘Mad Mouths’, which you can download from the App Store and Google Play.

References

  1. Live Mouth Smart. World Oral Health Day. http://www.worldoralhealthday.org/2017/live-mouth-smart (last accessed March 2017)

  2. How to keep your teeth clean. NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Teethcleaningguide.aspx (last accessed March 2017)

  3. Teeth facts and figures. NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Toothfacts.aspx (last accessed March 2017)

  4. Oral cancer risk factors. Cancer Research UK. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/oral-cancer/risk-factors#heading-Zero (last accessed March 2017)

  5. Teeth whitening. NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/teeth-whitening.aspx (last accessed March 2017)

  6. Oral Health. World Health Organisation. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs318/en/ (last accessed March 2017)

  7. Wang B et al. Biomed Res Int 2017;2017:2569707. DOI:2569707

  8. Terpenning M. Clin Infect Dis. 2005;40(12):1807-10. DOI: 10.1086/430603