The State of Global Oral Health and the Challenges in the 21st Century

The State of Global Oral Health and the Challenges in the 21st Century

Cavities and gum diseases have always been identified as among the biggest challenges in improving the global oral health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Although the oral health conditions vary now per region and country, dental caries remain a major health public problem along with others. 

Here’s a look at the biggest challenges to oral health development around the world in the 21st century.

Dental Caries

Dental caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay, are the permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth. They are caused by bacteria in your mouth, insufficient dental hygiene and taking in food and drinks with lots of sugar.

Dental caries is a major public health problem in Asian and Latin American countries, and even for industrialised countries. Based on WHO’s data, this dental problem affects 60-90% of schoolchildren and adults in industrialised countries. 

In most African countries, meanwhile, dental caries are less common and less severe. But it is expected that dental problems will be more prevalent in the developing countries because of the growing consumption of sugar while having insufficient exposure to fluorides. Fluoride, for reference, helps the teeth become more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth.

Tooth Loss

While industrialised countries have managed to reduce the instances of tooth loss among adults, it is still one of the major oral health problems for many developing countries.

The prevalence of tooth loss in developing countries stems from the fact that access to oral health services is still limited. Dental problems are often left undiagnosed and untreated, eventually resulting in tooth extraction because of pain or discomfort. 

Sadly, tooth loss and impaired oral function are still expected to increase and be considered as a public health problem in many developing countries. This, with most cases attributable to poor gum health.


Periodontitis or simply gum disease is an inflammatory disease that destroys the soft tissue of the gum. This can lead to the destruction of the bone that supports your teeth and eventually, tooth loss if left untreated. Its symptoms include red, swelling gums, bad breath, changes in the way your teeth fit in your gums and more.

According to the WHO, 5-15% of most populations have severe periodontitis which usually results in tooth loss. The growing tobacco use among both industrialised and developing countries are found to be a contributor in the rise of periodontal diseases among adults. 

Gum diseases and tooth loss are also associated with other diseases such as diabetes. Therefore, the prevalence of diabetes may also further cause an increase in the number of those with gum disease. For more information on how diabetes affects your oral health, click here.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer develops in the tissues of the mouth and throat, affecting the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses and the throat itself. It is linked to the excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol products. This oral health problem is more common among men worldwide.

Status of Oral Health Care Around the World

According to the WHO’s global review of oral health, the problems mentioned above still persist despite great improvements in the oral health sector around the world. This is because of sugar rich dietary habits, aging population and limited access to oral health care.  Many developing countries also have shortages of oral health professionals.

Our Part in Improving Oral Health Care


Lumoral has developed a technical mouthwash for home use that will help take your oral hygiene to a new level. This light-activated technical mouthwash solution kills even microscopic plaque bacteria in the mouth without the worry of negative side-effects that are often associated with other antibacterial products.


This medical device is particularly effective against Streptococcus mutans, bacteria known to play a more prominent role in the worsening of caries and periodontitis.


This device can be purchased online and be easily used at home.  Get Lumoral now and enjoy free delivery Australia-wide.