Dentists in Manchester city centre keen to impress upon their patients the importance of good oral hygiene should direct them towards a study conducted by Queen Mary University of London, which has just revealed that billions of people worldwide are suffering as a result of untreated tooth decay, including abscesses and toothache.
In fact, 35 per cent – or 2.4 billion people – have untreated cavities in their permanent teeth, while some 621 million children have such problems in their milk teeth.
If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to a dip in productivity at work, poor performance and school attendance in children, and absenteeism in adults. The study estimates that more than 190 million new cases of decay in adults will develop around the world each year, with treatment neglected in high income countries such as the US, where one in five people suffer because of a lack of treatment. And in the UK, that figure climbs to one in three.
“Our report is a startling reminder of the vital need to develop effective oral health promotion strategies. It is alarming to see prevention and treatment of tooth decay has been neglected at this level because if left untreated it can cause severe pain, mouth infection and it can negatively impact children’s growth,” lead author of the study professor Wagner Marcenes remarked.
If you’re concerned you might have a tooth abscess, you should look out for tenderness, bad breath, sensitivity to hot or cold food, an intense throbbing pain, a fever, difficulty swallowing and opening your mouth, trouble sleeping and an unpleasant taste.