World Health Day is April 7, and in the area of oral health, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified dental cavities and periodontal, or gum, disease as the most common oral diseases.
Further WHO statistics estimate that between 5 percent and 20 percent of middle-aged adults worldwide have periodontal disease, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2006 estimated that 23 percent of Americans ages 65-74 have severe periodontal disease.
Dr. Ray C. Williams, chairman and distinguished professor within the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry’s Department of Periodontology, was featured prominently in a public television episode discussing the relationship between oral health and systemic health. The show was filmed at the School of Dentistry and included Drs. David Paquette, Harald Heymann and Catherine Champagne, as well as staff and patients.
The “Oral Health” episode, part of the Information Television Network’s award-winning “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” series, received the 2006 International Health and Medical Media Award in the category of dentistry. Also known as the Freddie Awards, the honors are sponsored by MediMedia and recognized as the preeminent awards for excellence in health and medical media.
“I am very pleased with the exposure that this segment of ‘Healthy Body, Healthy Mind’ afforded dentistry and, specifically, the opportunity to present the emerging evidence on the importance of oral health to overall health,” said Williams. “The faculty, staff and patients who contributed to this show were wonderful and really helped show off the excellence of the School of Dentistry.”
Funding for the episode was provided by GE Healthcare and Sanofi Aventis, with additional support from Elan, MedImmune Inc. and Tom’s of Maine.