Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe launches new manifestoNews
Posted by: Dental Design 13th February 2024
The Oral Health Foundation is proud to endorse and support for the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe’s (PBOHE) new manifesto, ‘Smile your way to a healthy life: Working together for everyone’
As a member of the PBOHE, the Oral Health Foundation joins the call for policymakers across Europe to take strategic action in promoting and maintaining good oral health and well-being for all, ultimately alleviating the strain on societies and healthcare systems.
In a world where the connection between oral health and overall well-being is undeniable, the manifesto urges leaders to take bold and decisive action. The manifesto serves as a rallying cry, uniting stakeholders in a shared commitment to prioritise oral health as a key determinant of a flourishing and thriving life.
Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, says: “This manifesto comes at a crucial time, as societies grapple with the multifaceted challenges posed by healthcare disparities and increasing pressure on public health systems.
“By advocating for robust policies, this manifesto addresses the root causes of oral health issues, and if suggested policies are implanted, can lead to healthier and happier populations across Europe.”
The manifesto sets out three ways EU policymakers can promote and maintain good oral health for the population. They are:
- Place oral conditions at the heart of the EU’s ambitions to tackle the rising burden of non-communicable diseases.
- Include preventive oral healthcare medicines within the EU’s Critical Medicines initiative.
- Dedicate funding from EU programmes such as EU4Health and Horizon Europe towards research in oral health.
“Recognising oral conditions as major NCDs is crucial for general health,” adds Dr Carter. By elevating oral health to equal status with other diseases, we can ensure public health strategies are fully inclusive.
“Including essential oral healthcare medicines would be highly effective for addressing critical medicine shortages. Widespread access to fluoride toothpaste, varnishes, silver-diamine fluoride, and glass ionomer not only alleviates the burden of oral conditions but also combats antimicrobial resistance by reducing unnecessary antibiotic use across the EU population.
“Setting aside specific funding from the EU to study how oral health affects public health is really important. This helps gather strong evidence for actions that can improve overall health by tackling social and business factors. With a shared data system across Europe, this research strengthens efforts to make public health better for everyone in Europe.”
The manifesto also proposed three ways policymakers can drive success at government level. They are:
- Promote and encourage the adoption of best practices which have successfully improved oral health and have reduced risk factors shared with other non-communicable diseases.
- Support the implementation of the WHO Action Plan on Oral Health, with a focus on including essential oral healthcare within Universal Health Coverage.
- Facilitate the implementation of integrated healthcare teams and a primary care workforce which can cater to the needs of the population.
Dr Carter says: “Learning from the success of countries implementing taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks fosters a proactive strategy to alleviate the burden of NCDs.
“Urging EU countries to follow the WHO’s plan for oral health is really important. Doing this means we can create new and better ways for dental professionals, making sure everyone gets the dental care they need. Focusing on preventing problems and promoting good oral health in regular care helps everyone, especially those who need it most.
“Seeking EU support for minimum education standards for future oral healthcare professionals is crucial. By adapting training to meet the needs of our aging population and changing demographics, we ensure well-prepared professionals for increased treatment needs. Additionally, encouraging integrated healthcare teams with robust public health training enhances overall oral health for a healthier community.”
The new PBOHE manifesto can be downloaded by visiting http://www.oralhealthplatform.eu/.
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