23 Nov

Global report shows almost half of the population has an oral disease

A new global report suggests that almost half of the population has an oral disease. 

The Global Oral Health Status Report shows that 45% of the world’s population suffers from an oral disease. This equates to approximately 3.5 billion people. 

During the last thirty years, the number of cases of oral diseases has soared by around one billion. Over 70% of cases affect populations in low and middle-income nations. 

Speaking about the report, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that oral health has “long been neglected.” He called for more to be done to prevent oral diseases and treat existing symptoms effectively. The WHO is “committed to providing guidance and support to countries so that all people, wherever they live and whatever their income, have the knowledge and tools needed to look after their teeth and mouths, and to access services for prevention and care when they need them,” he added.

The report outlines the main reasons why dental health issues have become significant public health concerns and explains the link between poor oral health and a reduction in standards of general health, opportunities, mental well-being and productivity.

The global cost of treating dental health problems is estimated at $387 billion. Research suggests that 80% of funds are devoted to treating 20% of the population, focusing on affluent countries. 

Member states of the World Health Organization are set to discuss new measures as part of the Global Oral Health Action Plan for 2023-2030 in 2023. The aim is to incorporate oral health into policies and guidelines for public health and “broader agendas on non-communicable diseases.” 

Common examples of oral diseases include tooth decay and gum disease. WHO data shows that almost 20% of adults have severe gum disease, known as periodontal disease.