May 2014

Oral Health Around The World

World Oral Health Day was celebrated on 20th March - what did you do for it? Professionals from more than 70 different countries got involved this year, with various activities, events and opportunities arranged and available to help raise awareness of oral health, while also raising funds to help improve the lives of those less fortunate.

While there may be only nine recognised major world religions, most would argue that there are many more cultures and sub-cultures around the globe. Some share their history, others are completely unique, but all have their own ideas, beliefs and customs that people live by and follow.

With regards to oral health, people from different cultures approach the subject with just as varying beliefs and practises. In order for you to provide the best possible service and care for all of your patients, it is essential that you have at least a basic understanding of these different cultures, particularly where their beliefs may affect their dental or general health.

The Economic and Cultural Impact on Oral Health

Economic and cultural factors both contribute to the standard of oral health and those in less-developed countries demonstrate the most worrying statistics. These figures are often attributed to a lack of access to, or more pivotally a lack of awareness of, effective dental services, as well as the funds available by the governments to support the provision of such healthcare services.  For example, worldwide is it thought that 30% of people aged 65-74 have no remaining natural teeth, but in Mexico this number is thought to be as high as 60 to 70%. This significant discrepancy comes from the not unusual practice across the developing world for extraction as the solution to almost all dental problems.

According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) between 60 and 90% of children and almost 100% of adults around the world have dental cavities. The most recent surveys into the number of decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth suggested that oral health varies quite a lot depending on age, and that is true of countries in the developing and western worlds. Taking both children and adults into account, it would seem that countries such as those in South America, the Philippines and Russia indicate the worst rates from countries where data was collected.

Other research by the W.H.O. in many places around the world shows oral health care will often be overlooked completely in a countries' approach to the promotion of general health and will be considered almost entirely separately. It is worth noting however, that increased public awareness in various countries has been attributed to the introduction of singular days or campaigns promoting oral health. These include:

  • In the UK - 'National Smile Month' held in May encourages the promotion of good oral hygiene habits to the public, with 'The Smiley Challenge' and other fun activities.
  • The Platform for 'Better Oral Health in Europe' was also launched last year, and targets have been set for 2020 to see improvement in oral health around the continent.
  • In China - the annual 'Love Teeth Day' started in 1989 and research indicates enhanced dental health around the country as a direct result of increased public awareness.
  • In the USA - 'Give Kids a Smile' encourages the free provision of oral care to underprivileged children.
  • In Australia - the Australian Dental Association holds a Dental Health Week to promote good habits to the public, focusing on different key areas every year.
  • In India - the 'Chew on This' campaign is one of many supported by various foundations and organisations throughout the country, trying to warn people of the dangers of chewing tobacco and the potentially fatal consequences such as oral cancer.
  • In Malaysia - the Oral Health Month held in April was set up in response to the high number of citizens needing some form of dental work, and aims to educate the public on effective oral care regimes.
  • World Oral Health Day held by the World Dental Federation gets practitioners around the globe involved by offering free check-ups, education and dental services to their local communities.

Providing Proven Solutions at the BDA Conference and Exhibition 2014

Missed the show, trial offer still available - details follow

For delegates who attended this year's BDA Conference and Exhibition, Waterpik International Inc. demonstrated an array of oral health solutions suitable for a wide range of patients.  

The team from Waterpik International Inc. were keen to present the new and improved Waterpik® Ultra Water Flosser (WP-120), which delivers 15% more cleaning power than previous models and now with global voltage compatibility, so it will work from a shaver socket, as well as mains. This is an ideal solution to help patients achieve great oral health.

Also on demonstration was the Waterpik® Complete Care, consisting of the Waterpik® Water Flosser and the Sensonic® Professional Plus Toothbrush. Delegates were impressed to learn that this system is clinically proven to be up to 159% more effective for enhancing gingival health than a manual toothbrush alone.

Delegates also shared the clinical improvement they had seen in their patients, with many agreeing that even "patients who wouldn't normally floss will use a Waterpik® Water Flosser."

Trial Offers:  Ultra Water Flosser (WP-120) at £30 (RRP £59.99) and Complete Care (WP-900) at £50 (RRP £129). Contact via UK Customer Services on +44 (0) 333 123 5677 or ukcustomerservices@waterpik.com.

Regardless of where your patients are from and what cultural practices and beliefs they subscribe to, it is up to you to tailor your advice to help them enhance and maintain good oral health. By demonstrating an understanding or least an appreciation for their personal beliefs, you are more likely to strengthen the relationships you have with patients, encouraging their trust and confidence in you and your skills.

 When you recommend a complete oral hygiene routine, consider a Water Flosser as the easy way to floss and reduce or help prevent gingivitis.