Global Oral Health: Dental Decay in Various States


Global oral health conditions are many across the globe. Statistics from World Health Organization have shown that effects of global oral health conditions are increasing especially in low-income countries. While high-income countries are able to curb some of the worst conditions, low-income struggle to restrain these conditions (World Health Organization [WHO], 2010). This paper will examine dental caries as a global oral health condition. The paper will also compare prevalence of dental decay in different countries.

Dental Caries

Dental caries is the most common global oral health condition among children and adolescents in the world. The disease is considered as the most chronic childhood disease in the globe (International Association for dental research [IADR], 2010). Dental caries refers to tooth decay. The disease is non-communicable disease. Dental decay results from poor oral health. The decay is cause by bacteria, which generate acid that can destroy teeth. This can occur between teeth or within the fissures of the back teeth. Besides, it can also occur near the bridgework or gum line. If left untreated, dental decay can destroy teeth (Columbia University College of Dental Medicine [CUDM], 2016). Effects of dental caries can be reversed if detected early. Prevention is always the best method for mitigating tooth decay. This involves reducing the amount of bacteria through brushing or flossing of teeth on a regular basis.

Social and Community Factors

Various social and community factors influence development of dental caries. Social factors such as poverty and limited education are closely linked to high prevalence of dental caries. Children from low-income families tend to suffer from dental caries because their parents cannot afford regular dental check-up or treatment. In fact, children from poor families double their risk of acquiring dental caries as compared to children from rich families. Additionally, children from families with adequate education have lower risk of attracting dental decay than children from families with limited education. Cultural norms are also essential factors that influence the risks associated with dental cavities. For instance, communities that create awareness on dangers of poor oral health have low risk of getting dental caries. On the other hand, communities that do not create awareness on the threat of dental decay pose great risk to their members. In essence, social and community factors are significant in influencing prevalence of dental caries.

Prevalence in Developed and Developing Countries

According to IADR, low income and middle income countries are the worst affected because they cannot readily access dentists. However, its prevalence in high-income countries is associated with diet. Families from developed countries eat sugary products on a regular basis thereby increasing their chances of getting the disease. It can be noted that although families from developed countries can afford regular check-up, they have relatively high risk of contracting caries because of their sugary diet. On the contrary, families from developing countries face high risk because they cannot afford dentists and are oblivious of the dangers posed by poor oral health (IADR, 2010).


Dental decay is a chronic illness among children and adolescents across the world. In fact, dental decay is ranked among the most persistent global oral health conditions in the world. While its prevalence varies with social and community factors, dental caries is dominant in most parts of the world irrespective of economic status. Nonetheless, it should be noted that factors such as income, age, education and access to dentists affect the risk of contracting dental decay.


Columbia University College of Dental Medicine [CUDM]. (2016). Dental Caries (Cavities). Web.

International Association for dental research [IADR]. (2010). IADR mission. Web.

World Health Organization [WHO]. (2010). Oral health. Web.

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