Five billion people — or nearly 80 percent of the world’s population — suffer from tooth decay, the U.N. health agency said Tuesday in a report on oral health.

Tooth decay, gum disease as well as oral and throat cancers are a global health problem in industrialized and increasingly in developing countries, the World Health Organization warned.

Also, the loss of teeth usually leads to malnutrition — with people being unable to chew many foods vital to their health — and subsequently a host of other problems, the agency said.

“Poor oral health can have a profound effect on general health and the quality of life,” said Dr. Poul Erik Petersen, coordinator of WHO’s Global Oral Health Program. “The experience of pain, endurance or dental abscesses, problems with eating, chewing and missing, discolored or damaged teeth, has a major impact on people’s daily lives and well being.”

More here.