The global health community faces a huge challenge since 3.5 billion people suffer from oral diseases are left untreated, according to a study published in the “Lancet medical journal” cited by the Guardian.

Researchers emphasize the need for a radical overhaul of dental care, stricter legislation in the sugar industry and greater transparency in dental research to tackle the rise of oral diseases.

Oral diseases vary (caries, gingivitis, oral cavity cancer).

Untreated caries is one of the most common medical conditions while oral cavity cancer is among the 15 most common types of cancer worldwide.

“Current dental care is inadequate, unfair and costly, leaving billions of people without access to even a basic level of oral care. This isn’t, of course, a mistake of the dentists, but it requires a fundamentally different approach to effectively address oral problems”, said Professor Richard Watt, an honorary public health consultant at the University of Dental School and head of the study.

Aggressive marketing of sugary beverages leads to an increase in tooth problems. However, priority has been given to developing high-tech treatments rather than prevention. Another issue is the high sugar content in baby foods which leads children to prefer sweets from the early stages of their life.

Watt points out that people in the UK consume much more sugar than the British Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization suggest. He also adds: “There is a need for stricter regulations and legislation to limit the advertising and promotion of sugary products if we are to combat the root cause of oral diseases”.

Christine Cairns of the University of California at San Francisco and Lisa Berro, a professor at the University of Sydney, explain that the sugar industry seeks to have financial relationships with dental research organizations so that research can focus on dental care and not on the damage to the teeth caused by sugar products.