Non-Communicable Diseases, Emergency Care and Mental Health Module: 6. Oral Health

Study Session 6  Oral Health


Oral diseases are a significant burden to all countries of the world, including Ethiopia. Oral diseases include tooth decay, leading to painful dental cavities and tooth loss, gum infections that cause teeth to decay and fall out, broken teeth, birth defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate, and cancers in the mouth (oral cancer). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 60–90% of school children worldwide have dental cavities, and severe gum disease is found in 5–20% of middle-aged adults.

With the exception of birth defects (which have a genetic basis), all these oral conditions share common risk factors with the four leading chronic diseases – cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, cancers, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – they include unhealthy diet, tobacco use and excessive use of alcohol. Poor oral hygiene is also a risk factor for oral diseases.

In this study session you will learn the basic anatomical structure of the mouth and teeth, and about the common causes of oral diseases and how to promote oral health in your community through improved oral hygiene.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 6