In a country where more than half of all Canadians are now infected with some form of oral health disease, there are serious questions to be asked about how to best manage the crisis.
One of those is whether the public health system can address oral health challenges in a way that will make a meaningful difference in the long-term health of Canadians.
It’s a challenge that is being confronted in Canada with increasing frequency by the nation’s population.
According to the latest data from the Canadian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 1.3 million oral health diagnoses in 2016, an increase of more than 30 per cent over 2015.
The trend is even more pronounced among women: the number of oral cancers diagnosed in women increased by more than 100 per cent between 2015 and 2016.
In the past few years, there have been numerous headlines about the epidemic.
“You’re talking about the largest health crisis we’ve ever faced, which is one of the highest mortality rates in the world,” said Dr. John Pappas, a professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa and one of Canada’s leading experts on the oral diseases.
“[I]t is a national crisis, a global crisis, and it is a health crisis that affects all Canadians.
It’s not just a local problem.”
According the Canadian Public Health Association, there is a risk that some patients could be infected with oral cancers because they’ve received oral cancer vaccines and other treatments.
There’s a real need to understand the challenges and the public service needs to be ready for them, Pappassas said.
And while the problem is not new, there’s been a lot of discussion about how the government and the health system are addressing it.
Dr. David McBride, the director of the Oral Health Research Institute at McMaster University, said that while he believes there is an important need for a public health plan, there may be areas where the government can do more to support oral health.
He said there are some things the government could do to increase awareness and support.
McBride said a lot needs to happen before people get vaccinated.
Health officials are working on several strategies to increase the uptake of oral vaccines in the population.
McBride said the government needs to continue to improve awareness of the disease.
Pappassons research is focused on oral health and oral health diseases in general.
If you or anyone you know is concerned about an oral health problem, please call the toll-free number at 1-877-818-2533.