European Oral Health Report Card – preliminary findings

In 2013, the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe (the Platform) developed and launched its 2020 Targets (Annex A) in order to highlight three key areas, where oral health policy improvement is needed urgently. These are data collection systems, preventive policies and education and awareness.

It appeared to the Platform that currently there are very few data available on the status of oral disease prevention in the Member States of the European Union. In order to assess the situation in more detail, during the last quarter of 2013, the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe sent a questionnaire (Annex B) on some of the indicators to leading dentists from the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU).  In particular, it went to selected members of the Association of Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) and of the European Association of Dental Public Health (EADPH) plus Chief Dental Officers.

To date respondents from 25 EU Member States have completed the questionnaire, including the new Member State – Croatia. So far there have been no responses from, Luxembourg, Sweden, and Slovenia. Because their systems for the provision of oral health vary, the four home countries within the United Kingdom England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all responded separately to the survey. In addition to the 25 Member States, Belarus, Israel, Norway and Turkey also completed the questionnaire. However, their responses are not reported in this summary.

The responses to the questionnaire have been analysed and consolidated to form the first edition of the European Oral Health Report Card. Subject to confirmation of the data that has been reported, it highlights the Platform’s preliminary findings on the status quo of those oral health indicators that gauge some of the its most important 2020 Targets.

It should be noted that the questionnaire did not include questions on indicators for six of the 14 targets. This was because three of the targets (1, 3, and 7) will require work at European level and it was concluded that because of the length of the questionnaire Targets 4,6,11 would not be included in this initial Report Card. They will be addressed in the next questionnaire. It is the intention of the Platform to repeat this exercise at regular intervals to generate up-to-date progress reports (Report Cards) on the Targets. The data presented in this summary for indicators 8 and 9 are not from the questionnaire but from recent studies carried out by the Council of European Chief Dental Officers (CECDO).