The two main diseases which affect oral health are:
1. Dental Caries (Cavities), wherein bacterial processes that demineralize tooth surfaces result in cavities or holes in the teeth.
2. Periodontal (gum) disease, wherein inflammatory responses to bacterial biofilm along the gum line result in damage to the tissues and bones that surround and anchor teeth.
There is now clear evidence that both of these diseases can be prevented or at least considerably reduced.
Indeed, since the introduction of water fluoridation in the 1960s, there has been a substantial reduction in the prevalence of dental caries. Despite this improvement, large numbers of people continue to suffer high levels of tooth decay. In addition to dental caries and periodontal disease, there are a number of other important oral conditions which impact on oral health and well-being including:
• Oral cancer
• Dental trauma (fracture of teeth due to injury)
• Tooth wear (dental erosion, attrition and abrasion)
• Dry mouth
• Mouth ulcers
• Cold sores
• Tooth sensitivity
• Halitosis (bad breath)