Over 50 percent of Indians develop dental caries, a globally widespread condition affecting the oral health of individuals at different stages of life. Ahead of World Oral Health Day, observed on March 20, an expert explains what causes dental caries and why early attention and care is important for good oral health
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“Oral health has a profound effect on systemic health. Excellent oral health reflects in the aesthetic and functional dentition, allowing individuals to continue their desired social and active role. However, in most low and middle-income countries, with increasing urbanisation and changes in living conditions, the prevalence of oral diseases continues to grow,” says Mumbai-based Dr Aisha Ansari, dentist at SL Raheja Hospital.
According to the National Oral Health Policy of India, dental caries, periodontal diseases and oral cancer are among the most common diseases affecting the oral health of a majority of Indians. An oral health survey conducted by the Health Ministry and WHO India in 2007-08 reveals that the prevalence of dental caries ranged between 23 percent and 71.5 percent among 12-year-olds and between 48.1 percent and 86.4 percent among adults aged 35-45 years. A number of factors, including awareness, social and economic conditions, contribute to the burden of oral health diseases in India.
A condition that can be often dismissed as minor tooth decay, dental caries may lead to complex tooth diseases if left untreated. Ansari explains what causes dental caries, the treatment available for it and the importance of paying attention to one’s oral health.
When we say oral health, what does it comprise as a whole?