Improving Global Oral Health

Improving Global Oral Health

On April 20, 2023, the World Health Organization's European branch (WHO/Europe) is poised to launch a significant milestone in healthcare – the new status report on oral health in the WHO European Region. This eagerly anticipated regional summary comes hot on the heels of the publication of the Global Oral Health Action Plan (2023–2030) and is meticulously crafted to address the burden of oral diseases and propose evidence-based policy solutions tailored to the European context.

This launch aligns seamlessly with the mission statement of the RCSEd Faculty of Dental Surgery, which is focused on ‘Improving Global Oral Health’ extremely well, which is also endorsed by RCSEd Faculty of Dental Trainers.

Oral diseases, despite their pervasive nature, often lurk in the shadows of public health discussions. Yet, they afflict an estimated 466 million individuals in the European Region alone. The repercussions extend far beyond mere discomfort; they disproportionately affect disadvantaged and marginalized populations, exacerbating existing health inequities. What's more, if left unchecked, these conditions can exact life-long consequences, particularly for children, underscoring the urgency of prompt and appropriate treatment.

The upcoming webinar promises a deep dive into the report's key findings, featuring insights from esteemed dental health experts. Among the notable speakers are Richard Watt, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Oral Health Inequalities and Public Health, whose expertise in addressing disparities in oral health is unparalleled. Joining him is Aristomenis Syngelakis, Chief Dental Officer of Greece and President-Elect of the Council of European Chief Dental Officers (CECDO), bringing a wealth of experience in shaping dental policies at both national and pan-European levels. Heming Olsen-Bergem, President of the Norwegian Dental Association, lends his perspective on the challenges and triumphs in oral health provision within a Nordic context. Finally, Ewout van Ginneken, representing the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Global Health Observatory, will offer insights into the broader health system implications and opportunities for integration.

Central to the discussion are the recommendations outlined in the new European Region summary report, which serve to complement the overarching goals set forth in the Global Oral Health Action Plan. By delineating actionable steps for Member States, the WHO Secretariat, international partners, civil society organizations, and the private sector, these recommendations aim to catalyse a coordinated response to the oral health crisis. Through synergy and collaboration across sectors, the collective vision of achieving optimal oral health for all becomes within reach.

In a world where health challenges abound, oral health must not be relegated to the sidelines. It is an integral component of overall well-being, intertwined with social, economic, and environmental factors. As we await the unveiling of WHO/Europe's new status report, let us heed the call to action and rally behind evidence-based policies that prioritize oral health equity. Together, we can ensure that every smile is not only a reflection of joy but also of access to quality dental care for all.

back to top of page