It seems like every week there’s a new development in dental technology that sounds like it’s straight out of sci-fi, like technology that may allow us to regrow teeth from stem cells. From the electric toothbrush to water flossing, we keep developing more effective tools with which to keep our mouths clean and healthy. So why isn’t our global oral health improving?
25 Year Study Shows No Improvement
A recent study examined how our global oral health has changed over the last 25 years, and the results aren’t looking good. The number of people suffering from untreated cavities and gum disease increased by a cool billion, shooting up from 2.5 billion to 3.5 billion between 1990 and 2015. While much of that increase can be explained by population growth and aging, it’s still clear that we need to be doing more globally to further oral health education.
Nearly half of the world’s population suffers from an oral health condition, including periodontal diseases and dental decay. The global cost of treating these oral conditions is nearing $300 billion a year — that’s nearly 5% of global health-related spending. This makes oral health a massive burden on health systems worldwide.
Federation Dental International, the World Health Organization, and the International Association for Dental Research have set goals to reduce the frequency and impact of oral diseases by 2020. This research is intended to monitor our worldwide progress towards these goals, but as 2020 draws nearer, it’s not looking promising.
America is Part of the Problem
Of course, it’s easy to write off those global numbers as being dragged down by third world countries where dental care is harder to come by. But America isn’t exactly a haven of healthy teeth! A staggering 92% of adults have had at least one cavity, and 26% of adults have untreated dental decay. And when it comes to gum disease, nearly half of Americans are suffering from at least a mild form. By the time Americans reach the age of 65, that number reaches 70%.
These numbers aren’t surprising when you consider how poor Americans’ dental hygiene is. Less than half of Americans brush their teeth the recommended two times a day, and the numbers are even worse for flossing: Only 30% of Americans floss daily.
This means Americans can’t sit out of the battle to improve global oral health care. You can do your part at home by brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste. It should take you about two minutes to thoroughly brush every tooth, front and back. You should also floss daily. Without flossing, you’re missing a huge percentage of the surface area of your teeth! Your lifestyle and habits contribute significantly to your overall oral health.
And of course, it’s important to see your dentist regularly, so any oral health issues you may have can be identified and treated. If you need a dentist in Blue Bell, PA, call us at (610) 272-0828 or request an appointment online.