Oral health affects our ability to eat, talk, smile and show emotions. Oral health also affects a person's self-esteem, school performance, and attendance at work or school. Oral diseases, ranging from tooth decay and gum disease to oral cancer, cause pain and disability to millions of Americans and cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages.
Most cases are dental caries (cavities), periodontal diseases, oral cancers, dental trauma, cleft lip and palate, and noma (severe gangrenous disease that begins in the mouth and mainly affects children).