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Dental And Oral Diseases: Global Burden- A Report

Dental and Oral diseases are among the most common diseases globally, posing serious health and economic burdens while significantly reducing quality of life for those affected.

Dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal disease, tooth loss, and malignancies of the lips and oral cavity are the most common and severe oral health conditions globally.

Although oral diseases are largely preventable, their high prevalence reflects widespread social and economic inequalities as well as insufficient funding for prevention and treatment, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

Dental And Oral Diseases conditions, like most noncommunicable diseases, are chronic and highly socially patterned. Children living in poverty, socially marginalized communities, and the elderly are the most affected by oral diseases and have limited access to dental care.

What Is The Global Impact Of Dental And Oral Diseases?

Dental And Oral Diseases causes millions of people to suffer from excruciating pain and increases the societal out-of-pocket financial burden. Oral diseases can impair an individual’s performance in school and at work, as well as end up causing social and personal problems. Many oral diseases have a negative psychosocial impact on quality of life.

While the global burden of untreated dental caries in primary and permanent teeth has remained relatively stable over the last 30 years, the overall burden of oral health problems on facilities is expected to rise due to rising population and ageing.

Oral diseases disproportionately affect the poor and socially-disadvantaged members of society. The prevalence and severity of oral diseases are strongly and consistently linked to socioeconomic status (income, occupation, and educational level). This relationship persists throughout the life course, from childhood to old age, and across populations in high-, middle-, and low-income countries.

Oral health-care treatment is expensive, accounting for 20% of out-of-pocket health-care spending in most high-income countries. The demand for oral health care exceeds the capacity of most low- and middle-income countries’ health-care systems, and many people in some high-income countries cannot afford proper care.

How Does Dental and Oral Diseases Affects the Overall Health?

Oral health is an important determinant of overall health, well-being, and quality of life. It seems to include dental caries, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, oral manifestations of HIV infection, Oro-dental trauma, Noma, and birth defects such as cleft lip and palate.

Most Dental And Oral Diseases and conditions have modifiable risk factors in common with the most common noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes). Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and unhealthy diets high in free sugars are all risk factors that are on the rise globally. There is a proven link between oral and overall health. Diabetes mellitus, for example, has been linked to the development and advancement of periodontitis. Furthermore, there is a link between sugar intake and diabetes, obesity, and dental caries.

What Conditions Can Be Linked To Oral Health?

Oral health may play a role in a variety of diseases and conditions, including:

Endocarditis

This infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves (endocardium) usually happens when bacteria or other germs from another part of body, such as mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to specific areas in the heart.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

Although the link is not fully understood, some research suggests that inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria may be linked to heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke.

Pregnancy And Birth Complications

Premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to periodontitis.

Pneumonia

Certain bacteria present in mouth can enter one’s lungs and cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

What Are The Different Types Of Dental And Oral Diseases?

Humans use their teeth and mouth for a variety of purposes, so it’s not surprising that many things can go wrong over time, particularly if individuals don’t take proper care of their teeth. Most Dental And Oral Diseases can be avoided by practicing good oral hygiene. People are likely to experience at least one dental problem during their lifetime.

Various Dental And Oral Health diseases Are

  • Dental cavities
  • Sensitivity
  • Gingivitis (Primary Gum Disease)
  • Periodontitis (Advanced Gum Disease)
  • Chipped Tooth
  • Impacted Tooth
  • Bruxism (Teeth Clenching or Grinding)
  • Wisdom Teeth Problems
  • Halitosis
  • Oral Cancer
  • Tooth Erosion
  • Mouth Sores
  • Oral Thrush
  • Fluorosis of Teeth
  • Diseases of the Oral Mucosa

Dental Cavities

Cavities are also referred to as caries or tooth decay. These are tooth areas that have been permanently damaged and may even have holes in them. Cavities are fairly prevalent among all age groups.

They happen when bacteria, food, and acid combine to form a plaque on the tooth surface. The acid on the tooth begins to erode the enamel, followed by the underlying dentin, or connective tissue. This can cause irreversible damage to the tooth over time and may cause serious complications if left untreated.

Dental And Oral Diseases: A Global Burden To Oral And Overall Health

Sensitivity

Dentin hypersensitivity is another term for tooth sensitivity. When dentin (inner layer) of a tooth is exposed to environment due to any reason, it leads to dentin hypersensitivity. This happens because dentin comprises of dentinal tubules, which are directly connected to pulp (innermost part) of the tooth, which is rich in nervous and vascular supply.

If people have sensitive teeth, they may experience pain or discomfort after consuming cold or hot foods or beverages.

Sensitivity may be caused due to following conditions:

  • Gum disease
  • Receding gums
  • Worn fillings or crowns
  • A cracked tooth
  • It can happen temporarily after a root canal or a filling.
  • Some people naturally have sensitive teeth since they have relatively thin enamel.

Gingivitis (Primary Gum Disease)

Gingivitis, or gum disease, is an inflammation of the gums. It is usually caused by plaque buildup on the teeth as a result of poor brushing and flossing habits.

Gingivitis can make gums swell and bleed on brushing or flossing due to inlammation. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontitis, a more serious infection.

Periodontitis (Advanced Gum Disease)

Periodontitis is an extensive gum disease which also involves surrounding tissue along with gingiva. As periodontitis advances, the infection can spread to the jaw and surrounding bones. It can also cause an inflammatory response in all over the body.

Chipped Tooth

It is the most common type of dental injury. A chip can be caused by an accident. Something much less dramatic, such as chomping popcorn, can do the same thing.

An injury to the mouth, chewing hard foods, or nocturnal teeth grinding can all cause a tooth to crack or break. A cracked tooth can be excruciatingly painful. If anyone have a cracked or broken tooth, one should see a dentist right away.

If the chip is large, the dentist may recommend a crown or bonding with a strong resin material to replace the chipped area. If the pulp is in danger, a root canal may be required, followed by a veneer or crown.

Impacted Teeth

An “impacted” adult tooth is one that does not come in properly. It typically occurs when a tooth becomes lodged against another tooth, bone, or soft tissue.

If it isn’t bothering, a dentist may advise to leave it alone. However, if it causes pain or is likely to cause problems in the future, an oral surgeon can remove it.

Bruxism (Teeth Clenching or Grinding)

Bruxism is a parafunctional habit which is basically grinding of the teeth due to any reason. One of the causes is stress. Adults can also be affected by misaligned teeth or sleep problems.  Bruxism can cause headaches, jaw pain, and cracked or loose teeth.

If individuals grind their teeth at night, they must consult a dentist about getting a mouth guard. If it’s a daytime issue, try meditation, exercise, or other stress-relieving techniques.

Wisdom Teeth Problems

Since, wisdom teeth are vestigial, they are of no use functionally. Moreover, wisdom teeth are the posterior most or third molars which makes there cleaning difficult.

During the eruption of third molars, jaw bone is almost completely developed which causes space issues and late anterior teeth crowding is a consequence of this.

If one’s dentist says that wisdom teeth, or third molars, came in without a hitch, consider being fortunate. 90% of people have at least one wisdom tooth that is impacted or unable to fully grow in.

Wisdom Dental And Oral Diseases problems can lead to cavities, damage to adjacent teeth, and gum disease. Wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 25. If they become a problem, individuals may need to seek professional help.

Halitosis

Halitosis, also known as bad breath, or oral mal-odor is a chronic condition caused by a variety of risk variables, including smoking, poor dental hygiene, and pre-existing respiratory tract infections.

Gingivitis and periodontitis, which are caused by plaque and tartar buildup around the teeth and gums, can also cause halitosis. Because the mouth mal-odor can be very noticeable in close face-to-face encounters, this condition can cause anxiety in social situations.

Dental And Oral Diseases: A Global Burden To Oral And Overall Health

Oral Cancer

Oral cancers include cancer of the:

  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Lips
  • Cheek
  • Floor of the mouth
  • Hard and soft palate

A dentist is typically the first person to detect oral cancer. Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco, is the leading cause of oral cancer.

It can go undetected for a long time, especially if individuals don’t go to the dentist every six months as recommended. This disease characteristically appears as a swollen or tingling sore with a red or white surface, and it can be caused by excessive tobacco consumption or the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Lip and oral cavity cancers are among the top 15 most common cancers globally, with nearly 1,80,000 deaths each year, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Tooth Erosion

The loss of tooth structure is referred to as tooth erosion. Acid attacks the enamel, causing it to corrode.

Symptoms can range from sensitivity to more serious issues like cracking. Tooth erosion is prevalent, but it is easily preventable with proper oral hygiene.

Mouth Sores

Mouth sores of various types can be upsetting. There is normally nothing to worry about unless they last more than two weeks.

Mouth sores that are common include:

  • Canker Sores (aphthous ulcers): These are ulcers that form inside the mouth rather than on the lips. They are not contagious and can be caused by a variety of factors.
  • Fever Blisters (cold sores): These are caused by the Herpes simplex virus and appear on the outer edge of the lips. They spread like wildfire. They appear and disappear but cannot be cured.
  • Oral Thrush (oral candidiasis): Yeast infection sores in the mouth can occur in infants, denture wearers, diabetics, and cancer patients.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is one of several types of oral infections caused by the growth of the potentially harmful Candida fungus in the mouth. This illness primarily affects infants and people with weakened immune systems.

Oral thrush is easily identified because it causes milky white lesions to spread across the tongue and cheeks. Candida fungus, if left untreated for too long, can attack the tonsils and throat, causing difficulty in swallowing.

Fluorosis Of Teeth

Dental fluorosis begins to develop during the formation of teeth in young children. Drinking water containing more than 1.5 ppm (parts per million) fluoride can cause enamel defects and tooth discoloration, leading to endemic fluorosis in the population. The severity of dental fluorosis can range from mild to severe.

Diseases Of The Oral Mucosa

Oral mucosal diseases are conditions that affect the mucosa of the mouth.

The first signs of micronutrient deficiency, such as B-vitamin deficiency, are seen in the mouth and include glossitis angular cheilitis, and angular stomatitis. Undernutrition worsens the severity of oral infections and contributes to life-threatening diseases like Noma, a dehumanizing Oro-facial gangrene.

What Are The Sign And Symptoms Of Dental And Oral Diseases?

Symptoms Of Dental And Oral Diseases

Some common signs and symptoms are:

  • Ulcers, sores, or tender areas in the mouth
  • Bleeding on brushing
  • Swollen gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Sudden sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or beverages
  • Pain or toothache
  • Loosening of tooth
  • Receding gums
  • Pain with chewing or biting
  • Swelling of the face and cheek
Dental And Oral Diseases: A Global Burden To Oral And Overall Health

Table below describes about the specific signs and symptoms related to particular condition:

Dental and Oral DiseasesSymptoms
Dental Cavity-Sharp, localized pain around affected teeth, even when not chewing
-Grey or brown colored spots appearing on the surface of teeth
-Swollen gums surrounding decaying teeth
-Difficulty in chewing food due to sensitivity and pain
Periodontal Disease-Bleeding on brushing
-Tender, painful, swollen gums
-Enlarging space between teeth
-Bone loss -Frequent mouth sores
Oral Cancer-Inflamed lymph nodes
-Difficulty swallowing
-Red or white ulcers that won’t disappear with time
-Bleeding in affected areas
Oral Thrush-Spotted white sores or lesions covering mouth lining
-Cracks and irritation on the corners of the mouth
-Burning sensation upon swallowing
-Reduction in appetite and dulled sense of taste
Halitosis (Oral mal-odor)-Foul smelling breath
-Dry mouth
-Thick, mucous saliva
-Constant bitter or metallic taste

How Are Dental And Oral Diseases Diagnosed?

Diagnosing Dental And Oral Diseases

A dental exam can diagnose the majority of dental and oral problems. During a clinical examination, a dentist will carefully examine the following:

  • Teeth
  • Oral mucosa
  • Throat
  • Tongue
  • Cheeks
  • Jaw
  • Neck

To aid in diagnosis, the dentist may tap or scrape at teeth with various tools or instruments (usually a probe). A technician at the dentist’s office will take dental X-rays of mouth, ensuring that each of one’s teeth are photographed.

Inform the dentist if anyone is pregnant. Pregnant women should avoid having X-rays.

A probe is a tool that can be used to measure one’s gum pockets. This tiny ruler can tell the dentist if anyone have gum disease or receding gums. The depth of the pockets between the teeth in a healthy mouth is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters (mm). Any measurement above that may indicate that one is suffering from a gum disease.

A gum biopsy may be performed if the dentist discovers any abnormal lumps, lesions, or growths in the mouth. During a biopsy, a small piece of tissue is removed from the growth or lesion. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination to look for cancerous cells.

If one’s dentist suspects any type of oral cancer, he or she may also refer some imaging tests to see if the cancer has spread. Tests may include:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Endoscopy

What Are The Precautionary Methods To Avoid Dental Problems?

Good oral health is a byproduct of overall health and common sense. The best ways to avoid oral health issues are to:

  • Brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Every six months, make sure to visit a dental professional for scaling.
  • Avoid using tobacco products.
  • Consume a high-fiber, low-fat, low-sugar diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit intake of sugary snacks and beverages.
Dental And Oral Diseases: A Global Burden To Oral And Overall Health

Management and Treatment of Dental Problems

Treating Dental Problems

Even after maintenance with proper oral hygiene routine, one still need a professional follow up. This can be achieved by visiting a dentist every six months. If there is any emerging dental or oral health issue, the dentist will inform and recommend treatments accordingly.

Scaling And Root Planning

Scaling and root planning are other terms for a thorough cleaning. It removes tartar from above and below the gumline that a regular cleaning cannot reach.

Any plaque that people may have missed while brushing and flossing can be removed by a scaling (professional cleaning). Teeth will also get rid of tartar.

A dental hygienist is usually in charge of these cleanings. After all of the tartar has been removed from the teeth, the hygienist will brush the teeth with a high-powered toothbrush. This is followed by flossing and rinsing to remove any remaining debris.

Fluoride Treatments

Following a dental cleaning, one’s dentist may administer a fluoride treatment to aid in cavity prevention. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally. It can help to strengthen the teeth’s enamel and make them more resistant to bacteria and acid.

Antibiotics

If there is a gum infection or a tooth abscess that has spread to other teeth or one’s jaw, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection. The antibiotic may be administered as a mouth rinse, gel, oral tablet, or capsule. During surgical procedures, a topical antibiotic gel may be applied to the teeth or gums.

Crowns, fillings, And Sealants

A filling is a dental restoration that is used to repair a cavity, crack, or hole in the tooth. The dentist will use a drill to remove the damaged area of the tooth before filling the hole with a restorative material such as amalgam or composite.

A crown is used if a large portion of one’s tooth needs to be removed or has broken off due to an injury.

Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings that are applied to the back teeth, or molars, to aid in cavity prevention. One’s dentist may recommend a sealant for their children when they get their first set of molars, around the age of six, and again when they get their second set of molars, around the age of twelve. Sealants are simple to use and completely painless.

Root Canal Treatment

If tooth decay has progressed all the way inside the tooth to the nerve, individuals may require a root canal. During a root canal procedure, the nerve is removed and replaced with a biocompatible filling, which is typically a combination of a rubber-like material called gutta-percha and adhesive cement.

Surgical Treatment for Dental Problems

Oral surgery is typically used to treat more severe cases of periodontal disease. Certain dental procedures can also be performed to replace or repair missing or broken teeth as a result of an accident.

Flap Surgery

A flap surgery involves a surgeon making a small cut in the gum to lift up a section of tissue. The tartar and bacteria are then removed from beneath the gums. After that, the flap is stitched back into place around the teeth.

Bone Grafting

When gum disease damages the bone surrounding the root of one’s tooth, bone grafting is required. The damaged bone is replaced by a graft, which can be made from one’s own bone, synthetic bone, or donated bone.

Soft Tissue Grafts

To treat receding gums, a soft tissue graft is used. A dentist will take a small piece of tissue from one’s mouth or use donor tissue and attach it to the missing areas of gums.

Tooth Extraction

If the dentist is unable to save one’s tooth through a root canal or other surgical procedure, the tooth will most likely need to be extracted.

If one’s wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are impacted, one may require tooth extraction. A person’s jaw may not always be large enough to accommodate the third set of molars. When wisdom teeth try to emerge, one or more of them will become trapped or impacted.

If wisdom teeth cause pain, inflammation, or other problems, a dentist will usually recommend that they be extracted.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are used to replace missing teeth caused by disease or accident. A surgical implant is inserted into the jawbone. One’s bone will grow around the implant after it is implanted. This is known as osseointegration.

After this procedure is completed, the dentist will create a new artificial tooth for the implant that matches the rest of one’s teeth. A crown is a type of artificial tooth. The implant is then reattached with the new crown.

Read Also: Oral Health: Regular Maintenance For a Healthy Lifestyle

Summary

Oral diseases are serious public health issues in all parts of the world. Their impact on individuals and communities is significant as a result of the pain and suffering, impairment of function, and reduced quality of life they cause. Globally, the poor and disadvantaged populations bear the greatest burden of oral diseases.

Dental and oral health are part of vital aspects of overall health and well-being. Poor oral hygiene can cause dental cavities and gum disease, as well as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Keeping teeth and gums healthy is a lifelong commitment. The earlier people start practicing good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing, flossing, and limiting their sugar intake, the easier it will be to avoid costly dental procedures and long-term health problems.

Personal consequences of untreated chronic oral diseases are often drastic, including unceasing pain, sepsis, reduced quality of life, missed school days, disruption to family life, and decreased work production efficiency. The costs of treating oral diseases place a significant financial burden on families and health-care systems.

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