Delhiites are not smiling and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, is worried.

“More than 80 percent of Delhi’s population is suffering from various dental ailments, including periodontal (advanced gum disease), cavities, self—inflicted wear and traumatic injuries to teeth and most of them are preventable with early education,” a worried Ms. Diskhit said at a dental health fair on Tuesday.

“Schools should initiate child smile programmes to prevent tooth decay in youngsters through early interventions,” she said, asking dental surgeons to step in for early intervention.

The chief minister also urged the medical fraternity to provide dental care at a lower price so that common people can avail of the services too.

Mahesh Verma, principal of the Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, said that dental ill health is an indication of several other diseases.

“In recent years, dozens of studies have shown that periodontal may contribute to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Thus, good oral health is critical for general health and the mouth can serve as a looking glass into overall health,” Dr. Verma added.

“The first symptoms of various diseases including diabetes, AIDS, osteoporosis, certain cancers, eating disorders, venereal diseases, and substance abuse can be traced through one’s oral health,” he added.