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Billions Have Untreated Tooth Decay

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report. Nearly 4 billion people around the world have serious, untreated problems with their teeth. That is what a recent report from the World Health Organization says. Health officials say failure to repair cavities can even lead to social and emotional problems.

Wagner Marcenes is with the Institute of Dentistry at Queen Mary, University of London. He led a team of researchers as part of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. They used the information to estimate rates of infection. The report says untreated tooth decay is the most common of all 291 major diseases and injuries.

Professor Marcenes says increases in tooth decay are affecting sub-Saharan Africa and probably other areas on the continent. He says this increase in tooth decay could be a result of changes in diet, as developing countries adopt western-style diets. Many western diets are rich in sugar, a leading cause of health problems in the mouth. But, in western countries, water supplies are often treated with the chemical fluoride. Adding fluoride to the water makes teeth resistant to the bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

Wagner Marcenes says oral health problems can have a major effect on a person's quality of life. Cavities make eating difficult. As a result, people may eat softer foods that are easier to chew. However, softer foods are often higher in fat. Professor Marcenes is calling for an "urgent, organized, social response" to oral health problems. He believes in fighting tooth decay through a healthier diet. He is also calling for the development of new and less costly dental materials and treatments.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Mario Ritter.


  1. This article states correctly the fact that tooth decay is getting common around the world these days because of the highly processed and western style diet. These foods that people consume are devoid of the important nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins A D E K, calcium; phosphorus, potassium and other minerals. Due to this deficiency teeth become weak and prone to decay. The best way to counter this prevalence of tooth decay is correction of eating habits. People should be informed about the importance of nutrition for health of teeth. Consumption of nutrient rich diet helps in prevention and also reversal of tooth decay. I suggest people should read this book “Cure tooth decay” by Ramiel Nagel to readers in which the author has explained the causes of tooth decay and has given an easy to follow diet plan which includes all such foods which are rich in nutrients and helps in prevention and also reversal of tooth decay. Visit this website for more information

  2. Although widespread, tooth decay is one of the most preventable health conditions. As long as you look after your teeth well and visit your dentist regularly, you should be able to prevent tooth decay.

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  4. I visited a dentist with my totally damaged tooth many times but he was not capable of handling my problem. Please recommend me a good dentist.
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