Oral health is an integral part of general health and an important factor in the overall quality of life. Only a healthy oral cavity allows nutrition, speech and social contact without any difficulty.
Oral and dental diseases, caries (dental cavities) and periodontal diseases (diseases of dental supporting apparatus) are a public health problem due to its high health, social and economic importance. Despite the great efforts made to preserve the oral health, oral cavity diseases are on the rise, not only in Croatia, but also in the whole world.
The main objective of the World Health Organization (WHO) is to preserve human oral health before problems that require treatment appear. Relationship between oral and general health is therefore particularly important in the efforts of WHO to strengthen the integrated promotion of oral health and disease prevention throughout the world.
Caries, as yet the most common tooth disease affecting as much as 6.3 billion people in the world or almost 80% of the world’s population, still occupies the infamous first place among the most widespread diseases in the world. The reason for this widespread lies in the fact that we treat the consequences, rather than prevent the disease.
Successful dental caries and periodontal disease prevention requires a more complex and a more effective approach than the existing one, which is solely therapeutic, alleviating the consequences of the most common disease of the mouth when the disease already happens.
In developed countries, the prevalence of dental caries is reduced owing to better organization of dental health care, availability of fluoride preparations, improvement in oral hygiene and better awareness about caries. Western and Northern European countries record a declining trend of dental caries, while in the countries of the Eastern and Central Europe caries remains a public health problem.
On the next page learn more about risk factors and symptoms.