According to an international dental organisation, the world is experiencing a growing crisis in access to dental healthcare. The organisation warns if this situation is left unchecked we could see an explosion of oral disease, especially in developing countries.
The report, from FDI World Dental Federation, states oral disease already affects most adults globally and 90 percent of school children. Oral disease includes everything from cavities to oral cancer, is the fourth most expensive disease to treat and one of the most preventable.
In an attempt to raise global public awareness FDI has set a date of 2020 by which to tackle the crisis. The report, entitled Vision 2020, contains a five point blueprint which lays out the challenges facing oral health and oral healthcare.
“Oral health is an essential component of overall health, and there is a growing realization of the connection between oral disease and other chronic and potentially fatal diseases,” said Dr. Orlando Monteiro da Silva, the president of FDI and an oral physician based in Lisbon.
The differences in availability of oral health care practitioners from country to country are stark.
- In Croatia there is one oral health care professional for every 560 people.
- In the U.S. one for every 2,200 people.
- In China there is just one oral health care practitioner for every 82,000 people.
- In Ethiopia one oral health care professional for 1.3million people.
“Major inequalities in oral health care exist both within and between countries, and it is urgent that the worlds of oral health and overall medical health come together to address a crisis that is compromising our quality of life and costing us far too much money at a time when national budgets are strapped,” said Dr. Michael Glick, the leader of FDI’s Vision 2020 Task Force.
“These numbers highlight how far we have to go to provide basic oral care to most of the world.”