Oral health

Oral health refers to the state of the mouth, teeth and orofacial structures that enables an individual to perform basic functions such as eating, breathing and speaking, and encompasses psychosocial dimensions such as confidence, well-being and the ability to socialize and work without pain, discomfort and embarrassment. Oral health varies across the life course from early life to old age and is an integral part of overall health and supports individuals to participate in society and fulfill their potential.

Oral disease covers a range of diseases and conditions, including dental caries, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, oral dental trauma, gangrenous stomatitis and birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. Oral diseases are among the most common non-communicable diseases globally, affecting an estimated 3.5 billion people. Although the burden of oral health conditions continues to increase globally, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, the overall burden of oral health conditions on services is likely to continue to increase due to population growth and aging.

Oral disease disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. People of lower socioeconomic status have a higher burden of oral disease, and this association persists across the life course from early childhood to old age, regardless of the country's overall income level.

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