For many of us, a toothache or bleeding gums are warning signs that we need to book an appointment with the dentist. We’ll lie back in the chair, say ‘aaaaaah’, and get the expert’s advice to put things right. But for millions of people, access to dentists is almost impossible.
According to research from King’s College London (Opens in a pop-up window), 69% of the world’s dentists serve just 27% of the global population. A World Health Organization report (Opens in a pop-up window) also reveals that while 82% of people in high-income countries have access to oral health services, that figure plunges to just 35% in low-income countries.
By the age of 65, four out of five Ghanaians have lost all their teeth,* the average Indonesian will have 11 missing teeth,** and in Vietnam people have lost on average six teeth.*** In Bangladesh, the average person has lost seven teeth by the time they turn 60.****
A chronic shortage of formally trained dentists and prohibitively high costs often lead to oral health issues being ignored and treatment delayed, especially in middle and low-income countries. But Unilever’s family of oral care brands is setting out to make positive change.
Don’t wait until it’s too late, #TalkToADentist
Through ‘Don’t wait until it’s too late, #TalkToADentist’, our oral care brands are providing teledentistry services to help tackle barriers such as cost, distance and dentist availability on a vast scale. People can check in with a dentist digitally via video call, WhatsApp or live streaming on Facebook, all completely free of charge.
The brands are also organising dental camps where people will be able to access free in-person check-ups. Together these services will help an estimated 200 million people across the world take control of their oral health, avoiding severe pain, costly and complicated treatments, and ultimately tooth loss.
On a mission to eradicate oral disease
Mariano Sampietro, Global Vice President Oral Care at Unilever, says: “Our brands are on a mission to unleash the power of healthy smiles and eradicate oral disease for everyone. We believe that everyone has a right to good oral health, and access to convenient and affordable expert dental care.
“Through this campaign, we hope to raise awareness to ensure people understand the importance of acting early, from the moment a problem arises.”
Just 35% of people in low-income countries have access to oral health services.
Indonesia: Riskesdas (National Health Survey Data) oral health from Persatuan Dokter Gigi Indonesia
Bangladesh: According to an article of Bangladesh Medical Research Council Bulletin (Vol 40 No 2), published in August 2014