The World Health Organization reported that nearly half the world’s population (or 3.5 billion) suffers from oral disease, with the majority living in low- or middle-income countries.
According to the United Nations agency, tooth decay, severe gum disease, and oral cancers are the most common forms of oral illness. Untreated tooth decay can affect nearly 2.5 billion people.
It is estimated that approximately 380,000 cases of oral cancers are discovered each year.
WHO identified two reasons for high rates of oral disease, particularly in poor countries: large out-of-pocket expenditures and inaccessibility of highly specialized equipment in primary healthcare facilities.
Tedros Adhanom, WHO Director-General, stated that oral health has been neglected for a long time in global health. However, many oral diseases can still be prevented.
The agency recommended that countries include equitable oral healthcare services in their national planning, integrate oral health services into primary healthcare models, and improve access to fluoride toothpaste.