Last Updated on March 19, 2016 at 3:58 PM
Health Watch
Oral health is a vital aspect of wellbeing that is often not considered a priority by many. Deprived oral health and untimely treatment of oral diseases greatly impact the quality of life of an individual, and it largely goes unnoticed. One of the most basic physiological needs, such as eating is affected by oral ill health. A beautiful smile with a white and healthy set of teeth is a sign of a good health and creates an impression that you are approachable and positive; both of which are important characteristics for professional and social growth. A confident smile instills a sense of serenity and is one of the keys to success.
World Oral Health Day 2016 - “It All Starts Here. Healthy Mouth. Healthy Body”

FDI World Dental Federation, an international organization of dental professionals initiated World Oral Health Day (WOHD) as a global health campaign to raise awareness on oral health and related issues. World Oral Health Day is celebrated every year on 20th March, in more than 70 countries, and various activities are conducted to commemorate the same. This day is considered as a platform to convey a unified voice of many to address dental issues like tooth decay, oral cancer and so on. The creation of this auspicious day was initiated in Dubai in 2007.

Initially, the proposed date to commemorate World Oral Health Day was 12th September, which was also the birthday of the FDI founder, Charles Godon. This date was later changed as it clashed with another major event of the FDI namely the Annual World Dental Congress (AWDC). It was finally decided that March would be the month to commemorate World Oral Health Day as it provided ample time for FDI workers to plan both the events adequately.

WOHD is an important day because many oral health problems can be avoided with various health associations and government support. This day helps spread awareness and encourages people throughout the world to take their dental health seriously.

Theme for World Oral Health Day 2016

Each year, the activities of the day are centered on a theme that the FDI would like to promote and raise awareness. The theme for this year recognizes the interconnections of a healthy dental life to an overall healthy and fulfilling life. They have undertaken the following theme: "It all starts here. Healthy mouth. Healthy body."

In the truest sense, good oral health does lead to several other benefits that improve one's quality of life. It enhances communication and improves pronunciation and other nuances that are involved in speech. A well-maintained mouth lets one relish the plethora of flavors in food. A bad set of teeth is often off-putting; it destroys one's first impression and can be a social life killer.

FDI describes WOHD as a day filled with fun, celebrating all the wonderful aspects of a healthy dental life. This day witnesses a joint co-operation of various government and private organizations specialist groups, health associations and the general public to achieve the goal of a healthier population.

World Oral Health Day and India

Research conducted in India indicates that an alarming 49% of the population, comprising mostly of the rural community, lack the basic needs to maintain oral health, like access to tooth paste or even a toothbrush. A meager 2% of the population visit a dentist for oral issues and dental problems like gum disease and tooth decay. It is in this light that Indian Dental Association (IDA) conducts various activities to sensitize the population about the importance of oral health.

One of the greatest participations from India was seen when 176,000 children brushed their teeth together and thereby set a world record. This record was broken by Nigeria in 2013 when 300,000 children brushed their teeth simultaneously.

Other activities in India include distributing oral healthcare kits, essay competitions and conducting free dental health check-ups and so on. The dental kits named WOHD Dentist Smile Kits will contain posters, USB devices with social memes, a WOHD global awareness video, information on the plaque attack game and a customization app to urge local dental clinics to get involved in WOHD Local dentists can also add their contribution to the day by organizing independent oral health mobile drives.

Other proposed activities involve a teaser involving toothbrushes with the slogan "It's never too early or too late to start looking after your oral health." #ItAllStartsHere #WOHD2016. In keeping with time and age of social media, the FDI plans to capture the world of social media by releasing teasers revolving around dental awareness and are promoting the hash tags #ItAllStartsHere. #WOHD2016. Most events of WOHD are targeted at children, as the organizers believe that they can be easily persuaded and could form the first generation to take care of their oral health.

Audience for World Oral Health Day

The dental community invites everyone to be a part of the joyous celebrations. The activities are aimed at inculcating healthier oral habits in the general public. Thus, these celebrations are not just restricted to dental professionals, but all are welcome. The purpose of celebrating this day annually, is to increase access to dental care for everyone and to see more smiling faces. Last year, the dental community achieved an overwhelming outreach to about 27 million people. It is time to wear our smiles proudly and attend the WOHD celebrations in our locality.

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