World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is observed every year on March 20th to spread awareness on oral health and hygiene. Poor dental hygiene can lead to many oral diseases such as dental cavities and gum disease, and also medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The dental disease involves a wide range of conditions with different symptoms ranging from mild to severe, and reporting services correctly using the right codes can be challenging for dental professionals. Outsourced dental billing services are a practical solution to ensure timely claims filing and proper reimbursement.

An initiative of the FDI World Dental Federation, one of the oldest organizations in the field of dentistry, the WOHD campaign aims to spread the message about good oral hygiene practices for adults and children. Launched in 2007, WOHD was originally celebrated on  September 12th – the birth date of FDI founder Dr Charles Godon. However, the campaign was not fully activated until 2013. Later, the date of the WOHD observance was changed to March 20th to avoid conflict with the FDI World Dental Congress taking place in September. Over the years, the focus of this observance widened with clear targeting on individuals to take personal action, schools and youth groups to deliver learning activities about oral health, oral health professionals and the wider healthcare community to educate the populations they serve, and governments and policymakers to champion better oral health for all.

It is estimated that nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide are affected by some kind of oral disease. Dental cavities and gum (periodontal) diseases are very common. Reports from FDI show that 2.3 billion people suffer from tooth decay (dental caries) which is the most common health condition globally. Oral disease is a major health concern for many countries and negatively impacts people throughout their lives. It leads to pain and discomfort, social isolation, and a loss of self-confidence. That’s why it’s very important to empower people with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to maintain good oral health. The WOHD campaign focuses on spreading the word to encourage as many people as possible to keep their mouths and teeth healthy. It also illustrates the importance of oral health in maintaining general health and well-being.

Dental disease occurs when the oral cavity collects all sorts of bacteria, viruses and fungi and encompasses a wide range of diseases like dental caries, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth loss, oral cancer, and gingivitis. Dental conditions are caused by poor brushing habits, smoking, diabetes, use of medications that reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, hormonal changes and family history or genetics. A diet high in sugar can also create oral conditions in which acid-producing bacteria can flourish.

The good news is that most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be successfully treated in the early stages.  To reduce the risk of oral disease, we can take action to maintain healthy teeth and gums by following proper oral hygiene habits (like flossing, brushing and limiting sugar intake).

Dental and oral conditions are detected through a detailed dental examination. The dentist will closely examine the teeth, mouth, throat, tongue, cheeks, jaws and neck areas of the patient. Dental specialists need to document treatment administered using the right medical codes. Partnering with a reliable dental billing company can ensure accurate claim submission. Here are the ICD-10 codes for common dental conditions:

  • K02 – Dental caries
    • K02.0 – Caries limited to enamel
    • K02.1 – Caries of dentine
    • K02.2 – Caries of cementum
    • K02.3 – Arrested dental caries
    • K02.4 – Odontoclasia
    • K02.8 – Other dental caries
    • K02.9 – Dental caries, unspecified
  • K05 – Gingivitis and periodontal diseases
    • K05.0 – Acute gingivitis
    • K05.1 – Chronic gingivitis
    • K05.2 – Aggressive periodontitis
    • K05.3 – Chronic periodontitis
    • K05.4 – Periodontosis
    • K05.5 – Other periodontal diseases
    • K05.6 – Periodontal disease, unspecified
  • K06 – Other disorders of the gingiva and edentulous alveolar ridges
    • K06.0 – Gingival recession
      • K06.01 – Gingival recession, localized
      • K06.02 – Gingival recession, generalized
    • K06.1 – Gingival enlargement
    • K06.2 – Gingiva and edentulous alveolar ridge lesions associated with trauma
    • K06.8 – Other specified disorders of the gingiva and edentulous alveolar ridge
    • K06.9 – Disorder of the gingiva and edentulous alveolar ridge, unspecified
  • K10 – Other diseases of jaws
    • K10.0 – Developmental disorders of jaws
    • K11.1 – Hypertrophy of salivary gland
  • 12.3 – Oral mucositis (ulcerative)
  • K13 – Other diseases of the lip and oral mucosa
    • K13.7 – Other and unspecified lesions of the oral mucosa

In 2021, a three-year campaign theme (2021-2023) was launched with the theme “Be Proud of Your Mouth”. In 2021, the theme was mainly focused on how oral health affects our overall health. This year, WOHD wants to inspire action by highlighting how a healthy mouth is important for happiness and well-being. The campaign will emphasize how an unhealthy mouth can severely impact every aspect of life such as emotional, social, mental, and overall physical well-being.

People can actively take part in the campaign by spreading awareness about good oral hygiene via social media platforms, and educating children to better understand oral health.