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Study eyes global burden of oral conditions

Alexandria, Va.—A new study published in the Journal of Dental Research shows that oral conditions affect 3.9 billion people, and untreated caries in permanent teeth was the most prevalent of the 291 conditions evaluated.

"Global Burden of Oral Conditions in 1990-2010: A Systematic Analysis," submitted by the International and American Associations for Dental Research, compares the global burden of untreated caries, severe periodontitis and severe tooth loss in 1990 to 2010. The paper is available online. Click on the OnlineFirst link to view the paper.

Disability-adjusted life-years, or DALYs, due to oral conditions increased 20.8 percent between 1990 and 2010, mainly due to population growth and aging.

Oral conditions combined accounted for 15 million DALYs globally, implying an average health loss of 224 years per 100,000 population. The findings highlight the challenge in responding to the diversity of urgent oral health needs worldwide, particularly in developing communities.

The ADA Division of Global Affairs is working to address these global challenges in a number of ways, including in partnership with Health Volunteers Overseas.

The ADA sponsors the nine oral health initiative programs of HVO on four continents, with the aim of improving health care in developing countries through training and education. ADA members volunteer and lend their expertise through these programs.

As a member of the FDI World Dental Federation, the ADA also joins with more than 200 foreign national dental associations to promote optimal oral health for all people.

Dr. Michael Glick, editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) and dean, University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, served as the FDI Vision 2020 task team chair. The task team developed the report "Vision 2020: Shaping the Future of Global Oral Health" and it outlines five strategies to address urgent oral health care challenges facing the dental profession and its patients worldwide. The report urges action to "meet increasing need and demand for oral health care, expand the role of oral health care professionals, shape a responsive educational model, mitigate the impact of socioeconomic dynamics and foster fundamental and translational research and technology."

How to volunteer

The ADA International Volunteer website, highlights volunteer opportunities from more than 125 organizations that work to improve the oral health of resource poor regions worldwide.

For more information on the ADA's international activities, contact the Division of Global Affairs at international@ada.org or 1-312-440-2726.