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World Faces Rising Oral Health Care Crisis, Says Leading International Dental Organization

HONG KONG, Aug. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The world is experiencing a large and growing crisis in access to oral healthcare that, if left unchecked, risks an unmanageable explosion of oral disease, especially in developing countries, according to a report issued today by Geneva-based FDI World Dental Federation, the principal representative body for more than 1 million dental practitioners worldwide.

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Oral disease affects already most adults globally and as many as 90% of the world's schoolchildren, according to FDI, which released the report, called Vision 2020, at its annual Congress, being held this year in Hong Kong. Oral disease, which includes everything from cavities and periodontics to oral cancer, is the fourth most expensive disease to treat and also one of the most preventable.

In an effort to marshal global public opinion to address this crisis, FDI has set a date of 2020 to respond to the crisis. In the Vision 2020 report, FDI offers for the very first time a five-point blueprint that delineates the challenges facing oral health and oral health care.

"Oral health is an essential component of overall health, and there is a growing realization of the connection between oral disease and other chronic and potentially fatal diseases," said Dr. Orlando Monteiro da Silva, the president of FDI and an oral physician based in Lisbon. "Risk factors for oral diseases are the same as for many of the most common non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. As oral disease escalates, we can expect to see a greater incidence of all the associated diseases, at great cost to society. We must act now if we hope to deal with the crisis by 2020."

FDI's five-point plan includes the following: 1) Expanding access to care; 2) Expanding the role of existing oral health care professionals; 3) Closing the gap between dental education and medical education; 4) Mitigating the impact on oral health care from variations in economic growth; and 5) Improving the implementation of oral research findings into daily practice.

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