United Nations Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage Finally has Some Teeth

Oral health included in global health agenda

FDI World Dental Federation (FDI) welcomes the long overdue commitment to strengthening oral health in the UN Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) https://www.un.org/…/53/2019/09/UHC-HLM-silence-procedure.pdf. The declaration will be officially adopted by world leaders at the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC on September 23 in New York.

“Oral health is one of the most neglected areas of global health, so we applaud world leaders for this breakthrough commitment that gives teeth to the UN Political Declaration, said FDI President Dr Gerhard Seeberger. “It is now vital that the Declaration be converted into concrete, sustainable action at the national level.

Oral health is essential to general health and well-being at every stage of life, yet poor oral health continues to be a silent epidemic afflicting some 3.58 billion people – more than half the world’s population. Oral diseases, such as dental caries (tooth decay), gum disease and oral cancer, are the most common forms of preventable noncommunicable diseases and affect people throughout their lifetime, causing pain, discomfort, disfigurement and even death. Key risk factors for oral disease include tobacco use, the harmful use of alcohol, and sugar consumption.

Although most oral diseases are preventable, it has been estimated that the number of people with untreated oral diseases has increased by 38% since 1990 and oral diseases are the fourth most expensive out-of-pocket disease to treat.

“UHC provides a unique opportunity to improve access to essential oral health services and address substantial out-of-pocket expenses associated with oral healthcare in many countries,” said Dr Benoit Varenne, Dental Officer in the NCD Department at the World Health Organization. “The integration of essential oral health services into UHC will help improve health outcomes and reduce fundamental inequalities in access to care.”

About FDI World Dental Federation https://www.fdiworlddental.org/

Founded in 1900, FDI World Dental Federation is an international, membership-based organization that serves as the main representative body for more than 1 million dentists worldwide, active in some 200 National Dental Associations and specialist groups in close to 130 countries. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, FDI’s mission is to lead the world to optimal oral health.

/Public Release.