Together, the Platform for Better Oral Health seeks to find common solutions to improve oral health across the EU and to reduce inequalities both across Europe and within Member States. The Platform has therefore collected a series of best practices in order to:
- foster understanding of importance of oral health promotion and prevention among policymakers in the EU;
- demonstrate the cost effectiveness of prevention;
- raise awareness and disseminate good practices across Europe; and
- increase the Platform’s focus on providing concrete solutions to the unmet needs in access to quality dental care, and ultimately seeking to improve general health and overall quality of life.
The collection presented by the Platform includes 28 examples of oral health promotion and preventive programmes gathered from across Europe, which the Platform sees as possible solutions to Europe’s oral health problems.
The Oral Health Challenge in Europe
The best practices collection highlights the scale of the oral health problem in Europe:
- Oral diseases remain a major public health problem both in Europe and worldwide and share common risk factors with many chronic diseases.
- Oral diseases have considerable negative impacts on the quality of life of populations.
- A recent study published on the global economic impact of dental diseases suggests that the economic impact of dental diseases in Europe amounted to 123.56 billion Euros in 2010 with the highest productivity losses found in Western Europe; this includes 81.56 billion Euros in direct costs of treatment and 42.00 billion Euros in indirect costs. Looking only at the 27 EU countries, the direct costs of treatment in 2010 were estimated to be 72.96 billion EUR, while the respective productivity losses approximated 37.56 billion EUR.
The best practice examples
The 28 examples presented by the Platform cover all stages of the life-course. They include programmes educating professionals, general health education, integrating oral health into broader general health programmes, public policy, the provision of oral healthcare services, and programmes specifically aimed at reducing oral health related inequalities.
The findings of this exercise demonstrate clearly that in the case of oral health, investment in simple preventive programmes is cost effective. Based on the economic and social impact of oral diseases the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe believes that “Investing in oral health’’ is the only way to avoid the increasing burden of oral diseases on the EU, its Member States and its citizens.
The Platform Supports The Following Actions And Initiatives to Help Achieve This Goal:
- The European Commission and Member States should establish a Joint-Action on Oral Health focusing on the detailed and critical appraisal of existing oral health promotion initiatives, identification of gaps and formulation of specific effective public health interventions and on the formalised sharing of best practices between Member States
- Appropriate funding through the EU Health Programme should be allocated to oral health concerns
- An EU framework for common risk factor management needs to be set up, with oral health being a key component
- Oral health concerns should be included in the Commission’s country-specific recommendations and the European Semester (with a focus on the economic aspect, and looking at the need to invest in oral health promotion to ensure sustainability of healthcare systems)
- Member States should subsequently adapt their healthcare systems to ensure adequate focus is given to promotion of and preventive programmes in oral health
- A pan-European oral health communications plan should be built up in order to raise awareness of the importance of good oral hygiene, fluoride use, the reduction of sugar consumption and adoption of a healthy diet across the life-course among all EU citizens, healthcare professionals and policy-makers
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Best Practices in Oral Health Promotion and Prevention from Across Europe
Best Practices in Oral Health Promotion and Prevention from Across EuropeDownload