July 12, 2013

The Final Goal: Public Dental Coverage for All

Written by Josie Newman

The European nations of Germany, Britain, and the four Nordic countries have the finest dental care in the world. It is an integral part of their entire health care systems. But most of the EU has a frightening lack of public oral health care which has negative spin-offs to general health and public finances. For example, in the EU, more money is spent on treating cavities, periodontal or gum disease, and oral cancer than on treating cancer, heart disease, stroke or dementia. This is unfortunate because gum diseases are associated with rheumatoid arthritis and coronary heart disease.
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One of the culprits in this situation is a lackof policy emphasis on oral disease prevention in Europe. Suggestions have been made by members of the Platform for Better Healthin Europe:
  • to incorporate the improvement of oral health into EU policies by 2020
  • to develop standard methodologies in data collection so information on residents' oral health is accurate
  • to support the development in Europe of a dental workforce of lay practitioners as opposed to just dentists
 These tie into Global Goals for Oral Health 2020, established by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Dental Federation (FDI), and the International Association of Dental Research (IADR). These global goals include: