Post Mortem

World Oral Health Day (WOHD)

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/19/2020 12:40:57 PM IST

 World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated globally every year on 20 March. It is organized by FDI World Dental Federation and is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health. WOHD spreads messages about good oral hygiene practices to adults and children alike and demonstrates the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and well-being. Each year, WOHD focuses on a specific theme and reaches out to the public, oral health professionals, and policymakers, who all have a role to play in helping reduce the burden of oral disease. WOHD Theme for 2020 is Say Ahh #Unite for Mouth Health.

Indian Dental Association Nagaland State Branch (IDANSB): IDANSB is organising state- wide posture/ digital campaign on World Oral Health Day, 20 March 2020. Many influencers and celebrities like Alobo Naga, Tetseo Sister, Nise Meruno, Ruopfuzhano Whiso, Zehovire Avi Kechu, Marina Kiho, Moalong Yaden, Combat Academy, Grace and care foundation etc.., are participating in social media campaign to help create an awareness on importance of oral health and how it affects our general Health.  IDANSB members will also be distributing  Educational leaflets, Free face mask to senior citizens following hand sanitisation protocol on WOHD 20 march at various point across the state.

History:  World Oral Health Day was first declared in 2007 and was originally celebrated on 12 September - the birth date of FDI founder Dr Charles Godon. However, the campaign was not fully activated until 2013, after the date was changed to 20 March to avoid conflict with the FDI World Dental Congress taking place in September.

The new date was chosen to reflect that: Seniors must have a total of 20 natural teeth at the end of their life to be considered healthyChildren should possess 20 baby teethHealthy adults must have a total of 32 teeth and 0 dental cavitiesExpressed on a numerical basis this can be translated as 3/20 hence March 20.

Oral health: A window to overall health: Oral health is an integral part of General Health. Health of our mouth, teeth and gums can affect our general health. Oral health also offers clues about our overall health as problems in our mouth can affect the rest of our body. We can protect ourselves by learning about the connection between oral health and overall health.

What’s the connection between oral health and overall health? Like other areas of the body, our mouth teems with bacteria — mostly harmless. But our mouth is the entry point to our digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Also, certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect us from microbes that multiply and lead to disease.

What conditions can be linked to oral health? Oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including: Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of our heart chambers or valves (endocardium) typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of the body, such as our mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.

Cardiovascular disease: Research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke can be linked to the inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria.

Pregnancy and birth complications: Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. 

Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in our mouth can be pulled into our lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

Certain conditions also might affect our oral health, including: Diabetes. By reducing the body’s resistance to infection, diabetes puts our gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.

HIV/AIDS: Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.

Osteoporosis: This bone-weakening disease is linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Certain drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw. Alzheimer’s disease. Worsening oral health is seen as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

Other conditions that are linked to oral health include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth (Sjogren’s syndrome).

How can we protect our oral health? To protect oral health, one must practice good oral hygiene daily. Brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush using fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily.Use of mouthwash. Eating healthy diet and limiting food with added sugars. Replacing toothbrush every three months or sooner if bristles are splayed or worn. Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings. Avoiding tobacco use.

Also, contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

Dr. Kaketo Yepthomi, President, Indian Dental Association Nagaland State Branch


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