World Cavity Free Future Day (WCFFD) is held every year on October 14th as a global oral health initiative to fight against the initiation and progression of dental caries. Did you know that dental caries is the most common chronic disease on the planet, despite being preventable?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), worldwide 60 – 90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults are affected by dental caries. This can dramatically impact the sufferers’ quality of life through pain and discomfort, missed days or decreased participation in school and work.
What are dental caries?
Tooth decay (dental caries) is damage to a tooth that can happen when decay-causing bacteria in your mouth make acids that attack the tooth’s surface. This can lead to a small hole in a tooth called a cavity. If tooth decay is not treated, it can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
People of all ages can get tooth decay once they have teeth—from childhood through the senior years. This year, World Caries Free Future Day will be focusing on “Smiles Across Generations”. The focus will be on tooth decay as a disease across the life course, with each age group and generation facing different experiences. We must all take the right steps to ensure we can smile throughout all the generations.
What to look out for?
- Oral pain and discomfort.
- Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Brown, black or grey spots appearing on the teeth.
- Sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold food/ drinks.
How do we prevent caries?
Balance Bacteria – we need to practice good oral hygiene and reduce bacteria in the mouth by brushing your teeth 2x daily for 2mins with a fluoride toothpaste
Reducing sugar intake – Sugar plays a big role in tooth decay and hence cutting down on the frequency of sugar intake is important. This includes avoiding or reducing consumption of fizzy drinks, chocolate and lollies, fruit juices, sugary snacks etc
Increase strength – Using a fluoridated toothpaste can help strengthen and remineralise the enamel on your teeth.
Choose water – If you are thirsty, opt to drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Tap water is safe, free and has the added benefit of fluoride in most communities.
Enhance protection – Regular check-ups with your dental team is the best way to ensure that you stay cavity-free. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to advise you on positive habits and recommend preventive treatments which can stop any early-stage caries from progressing into cavities.
What can you do?
Being proactive about teeth is the key step towards reducing the number of people who develop cavities. We should shift the focus of dental care from fillings to preventive programs that stop early decay from progressing to cavities. Together we can secure a cavity-free future for generations to come.