October 14th is World Cavity-Free Future Day (WCFFDay), an annual event now in its fifth year, which is dedicated to raising awareness of the fact that anyone of any age can fall prey to dental decay but that conversely, it is also within everyone’s grasp to practice good oral health through regular brushing and flossing, regular dentist visits and healthy eating.
This year the focus is on how tooth decay can affect people across the full course of their life, with the theme of WCFFDay, Healthy Smiles Across Generations, and that while everyone is at risk, no matter their age, that the disease is almost entirely preventable.
Throughout the world, tooth decay and oral disease affects 3.9 billion people, with untreated tooth decay impacting almost half of the world’s population.
Australia’s Adult Oral Health Tracker emphasises the extent of tooth decay in Australia, with figures showing that untreated tooth decay affects just over 32% of adults, a 6.6% increase since 2004/06.
Children are doing as poorly with the latest figures from the 2018 Children and Young People Oral Health Tracker showing that 34.3% of children aged 5-6 years have experienced decay in their primary teeth while among children aged six to fourteen years, 23.5% have experienced tooth decay in their permanent teeth with 10.9% of this age group having untreated tooth decay (27.1% among children aged five to ten years of age).
WCFFDay aims to help combat these levels of tooth decay by raising awareness of the extent of the problem with a further focus “on the wider issues that stem from poor dental health and raises global awareness about best practices for the prevention and management of caries and cavities.”
Professor Kaye Robert-Thomson, ACFF ANZ Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future which oversees WCFFDay is optimistic about tackling the trenchant issue of tooth decay.
“Tooth decay is largely entirely preventable. We need to continue to have conversations about prevention across all age-groups and raise awareness of the simple ways we can easily reduce our risk of tooth decay. This includes, brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary foods and drinks and having regular dental check-ups.”