oral health Europe

Sept. 13, 2011
New platform will promote better access to dental health care and increased awareness of preventative measures.

BRUSSELS, Belgium--Partners from public health associations, dental education, and businesses have announced launch of the European Platform for Better Oral Health.

The initiative is intended to help improve oral health care and reduce the cost of oral diseases in Europe. The platform, which goes live on the Fourth Annual World Oral Health Day, is the result of efforts by a diverse group of stakeholders to respond to the growing oral health challenge in Europe.

The platform’s members, including the European Association of Dental Public Health, the Association for Dental Education in Europe, Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programs, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, and the Council of European Chief Dental Officers has debuted the platform’s website at www.oralhealthplatform.eu.

Over the next year, platform members will tackle the growing challenges to oral health in Europe and promote education, prevention, and access to better oral health across Europe.

In announcing the launch of the platform, Professor Kenneth Eaton, president elect of the European Association of Dental Public Health, said, “Today, less than 50% of European citizens still claim to have all of their original teeth. Working together, the partners in the European Platform for Better Oral Health are determined to tackle the oral health crisis in Europe by educating citizens and challenging policymakers in Europe to start treating oral health with greater urgency.”

Oral diseases remain a major public health challenge in Europe, despite the fact that they could be easily prevented by routine oral hygiene practices such as using fluoride-containing toothpaste, mouthwashes, flossing, chewing sugar-free gum, and getting regular dental check-ups.

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Today, many Europeans do not know how to follow even these basic practices, and as a result, 5 to 10% of annual public health spending is devoted to treating oral diseases. This is estimated to cost EU Member States around € 70 billion a year.

It is especially important to teach children and teenagers good oral care habits early and to help the elderly improve their oral health. Oral disease is the fourth most expensive disease to treat.

The European Platform for Better Oral Health will support the development of a common European approach toward oral health policy by raising awareness among the public and European policymakers. Specifically, it will support policy initiatives to address the challenge of oral health inequalities in Europe, increase funding for the prevention of oral diseases, and create better understanding of the links between oral health and general health.

The platform will also improve citizens’ knowledge of oral health and their access to reliable data, by strengthening evidence-based information and by eventually becoming a single point of reference for citizens across Europe for information on oral diseases, their prevalence, and how to prevent them through routine dental hygiene practices.

For more information, go to www.oralhealthplatform.eu.

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