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[Perspectives] Teeth and inequality: from past to present

Teeth matter. Despite being largely preventable, oral diseases are common chronic conditions. Indeed, findings from the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study show that untreated caries (decay) is the most prevalent and severe periodontal (gum) disease, the sixth most common disease in the world. From early childhood to old age, oral diseases have a negative impact on quality of life and social functioning. Pain, infection, and difficulties eating and speaking are all common consequences of oral disease.