Nearly half of world's population suffers from oral diseases: WHO

Almost half of the world's population suffers from oral diseases, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. 

The Global Oral Health Status Report, published Nov. 18, reviews oral health data to guide advocacy efforts around improving prioritization of oral health.

Nine takeaways from the report:

1. Forty-five percent, or 3.5 billion people, suffer from oral diseases, with 3 out of 4 affected people living in low- and middle-income countries. 

2. Global cases of oral diseases have increased by 1 billion over the last 30 years.

3. The most common oral diseases include dental caries, severe gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancers. 

4. Untreated dental caries is the most common condition, affecting about 2.5 billion people.

5. Severe gum disease affects an estimated 1 billion people.  

6. About 380,000 cases of oral cancers are diagnosed every year.

7. High sugar intake and alcohol and tobacco use are contributing to the global oral health crisis.

8. Some key barriers to oral healthcare access include financial burdens, a lack of integration with primary healthcare models and poor surveillance systems combined with nonprioritization of public oral health research.

9. Solutions to improve global oral health include addressing common risk factors, increasing integration of oral health services in primary healthcare as part of universal health coverage, adjusting oral health workforce models to meet population needs and integrating oral health data into national health monitoring systems.

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