Live Mouth Smart: How to Advocate World Oral Health Day 2017

Today, the FDI World Dental Federation wants to educate people on how to Live Mouth Smart.

And no, “mouth smart” is not the same as a “smart mouth.”

Live Mouth Smart is the theme for World Oral Health Day 2017. World Oral Health Day launched in 2013. Organized by the FDI World Dental Federation, the day raises awareness of the importance of good oral health, as well as the connection between oral health and overall health.

The FDI World Dental Federation distributed a guide for policymakers with five calls to action for the day. And while the day is geared toward advocacy, it does contain useful tips for you to advocate for your own oral health.

Why You Want to Advocate for Your Own Oral Health

It’s a saying we’ve shared before:

You can’t spell overall without oral.

As in, oral health directly affects overall wellness.

Based on some of the worldwide statistics released by the FDI World Dental Foundation, many of us are struggling with our health.

  • Oral health affects 3.9 billion people globally, with untreated tooth decay impacting almost half of the world’s population (44 percent).
  • Throughout the world, between 60 and 90 percent of schoolchildren and nearly 100 percent of adults have tooth decay, which often leads to pain and discomfort.
  • Severe gum disease is found in 15 to 20 percent of middle-aged (35- to 44-year-old) adults.
  • In the United States, $110 billion is spent annually on oral healthcare.

And this isn’t to mention the serious gaps in epidemiological data, especially in low- and middle-income countries, due to oral health not being integrated in national disease surveillance.

While it may require policymakers to change the way we report oral health globally, oral health is anything but out of our court.

Four Simple Ideas to Boost Your Health this World Oral Health Day 2017

Here are four ways you can advocate for your own oral health:

  • Eat healthy. The FDI World Dental Foundation defines a healthy diet primarily as one low in sugar, as sugar is the leading risk factor for tooth decay. But you don’t have to make healthy eating about avoiding certain foods. Lots of healthy options are delicious. Foods rich in calcium and phosphorous — like hard aged cheese, seafood, almonds and pumpkin seeds — can help restore enamel. Hard, crunchy foods that contain lots of water — like celery — can gently scrub and clean teeth surfaces, removing plaque and food particles. Foods rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants — berries, broccoli and beans — can help clean gums. If you need any help, follow us on Facebook for a new healthy recipe every Wednesday.
  • Say NO to tobacco. Tobacco use in all forms is harmful to health, including oral health. Globally, it’s the leading preventable cause of death and disease.
  • While an occasional glass of wine may actually be good for you, excessive alcohol use can lead to periodontal disease.
  • Apply fluoride. Fluoride can prevent tooth decay, reverse the process of early decay and remineralize enamel. You also have several options about how you might apply it:
  • Add it to water, salt or milk. To check to see if fluoride’s been added to your tap water, go to this website, which is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the tap water is fluoridated, you can learn about the fluoride concentration as well.
  • Have it prescribed as a gel, varnish or tablet. Contact your doctor about this method.
  • Use toothpaste or mouth rinse. Check the ingredients in your toothpaste or mouth rinse to ensure it contains fluoride.

By following these four simple ideas, you can advocate for your own oral health. You might also want to check out these resources from World Oral Health Day, including a brochure, posters and social media material you can download.

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