The mouth is considered to be the gateway to one’s overall health and well-being. In other words, a healthy mouth is important for a healthy body. World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated every year on 20 March to raise awareness about this. Organized by the FDI World Dental Federation, WOHD is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health. The main aim of WOHD is to spread the message about good oral hygiene practices to adults and children alike and demonstrate the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and well-being. Each year, WOHD focuses on a specific theme to reach out to the public, oral health professionals, and policy makers. This year, the official theme of the campaign is “Say Ahh: Unite for Mouth Health”. The campaign also calls for people to make online pledges or pledge signs to show their commitment to the cause.
Oral disease will affect almost all people at some point during their lifetime. Poor oral health can lead to various diseases. Gum disease can increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, and more. Following good oral and dental hygiene can gum disease, bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease, and help you maintain good health as you get older.
The FDI World Dental Federation notes that it is particularly worrying to see an increasing number of children with tooth decay, which can lead to the development of early childhood caries, negatively affect how a young mouth develops, and create lasting health issues for young children.
Here are some pledges to make on World Oral Health Day.
Make a Pledge for Good Oral Hygiene
- Good oral health should begin from a newborn. Even if the newborn doesn’t have teeth, it’s very important to keep their mouth healthy from day one. Wipe their gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or wash cloth – especially after feedings and before bedtime. Avoid letting your baby sleep with a feeding bottle in their mouth. Once your baby’s first tooth appears, start to clean it twice a day, just like you should your own.
- Brush every morning and night
- Teach your child to brush the right way by using a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.
- Put an end to late-night snacking after brushing the teeth at night
- Replace your worn-out toothbrush: the average life of a toothbrush is about 3 months.
- Look after dentures. If you wear removable dentures, clean them daily using a specialist denture cleaner or soap and water.
- Floss regularly
- Protect your mouth when on the go. It’s not always possible to brush your teeth after every snack or meal, especially when you’re on the go. Chew sugar-free gum instead, or rinse with a fluoride mouthwash.
- If you are pregnant, learn how to protect your mouth during morning sickness.
Make a Pledge to Avoid a Dry Mouth
- Learn how a dry mouth could affect you
- Drink small amounts of water regularly throughout the day or chew sugar-free gum or candies to stimulate salivary flow.
Make a Pledge for Regular Dental Check-Ups
- Take your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears.
- Get regular dental check-ups.
- If a tooth becomes loose or if your dentures no longer fit properly, go and see your dentist as soon as possible.
- Keep your dentist informed if you are pregnant and if you are taking any medications, or about any other special advice from your medical doctor.
Make a Pledge for a Healthier Lifestyle
- Limit sugar in your diet
- Say no to tobacco
- Cut down alcohol intake
- Help your family make healthy choices
A good oral hygiene routine, regular dental check-ups and a healthy lifestyle can help protect your mouth and body. Take a pledge to maintain a strong and healthy mouth and inspire others to do the same.