- March 20 is World Oral Health Day (WOHD).
- The goal of WOHD is to encourage people to take charge of their oral health and to stress on the importance of optimum oral health in keeping our overall health and well-being.
- A healthy mouth allows us to enjoy life, and this year, WOHD encourages us to make a pledge to look after our oral health.
In 2017, it is estimated that oral diseases affected 3.5 billion people around the world, but what does it really mean for us when we talk about poor oral health?
Poor oral health and dental-related illnesses cause millions of people to suffer from pain and out-of-pocket financial burden. Oral diseases can affect our productivity at work and has been associated with decreased school performance and social relationships.
A healthy smile allows us to speak, chew and smile with confidence. Taking care of our oral health is very important for everyone, no matter the age.
What can we do about it?
Today on World Oral Health Day, we are called to make a pledge to look after our oral health and inspire our friends and families to do the same.
- Pledge to brush your teeth the right way. Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every three months or as soon as the bristles are frayed. Pledge to brush your teeth even when you’re too tired.
- Pledge to floss regularly. Flosses and interdental brushes will help you clean difficult areas between your teeth and will help prevent gum disease by removing plaque that forms along the gum line.
- Pledge to manage your risk factors to avoid dry mouth. Dry mouth happens when the glands in your mouth do not produce enough saliva. It can be caused by tobacco, alcohol, certain diseases and medications. Our saliva neutralizes plaque acids and constantly washes around our mouth and teeth, fighting cavities and helping us keep our teeth clean.
- Pledge to visit your dentist regularly. The best way to protect your mouth is to go for regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments. As dental clinicians, we are here to help you manage your oral health and treat dental problems before they get worse.
- Pledge to limit sugar in your diet. Sugary food and drinks are not good for the teeth and your overall health. Limit sugar* intake to 6 teaspoons daily, and 3 teaspoons for children.
- Pledge to help your family make healthy food choices. Avoid excessive amounts of processed food, sweetened treats and drinks and encourage healthy eating at home. Prepare nutritious snacks for your children to bring to school.
- Pledge to avoid and quit tobacco. Tobacco in any form is unsafe. 250 out of more than 7,000 chemicals from tobacco smoke are known to cause cancers. Tobacco increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer. It causes staining in your teeth, bad breath, premature tooth loss and loss of your sense of taste and smell.
- Pledge to limit alcohol consumption. Drinking excessive alcohol intake is a major risk factor for oral cancer and other diseases.
*Sugar refers to free sugars that are added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juice and fruit juice concentrates. It does not refer to sugar that is naturally present in fruits, vegetables and milk.
To know how you can participate, visit worldoralhealthday.org.