White Paper urges comprehensive approach to tooth decay

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The World Dental Federationin Poznan, Poland, on Thursday released a white paper ‘Dental Caries Prevention and Management’ under the banner of its Caries Prevention Partnership with Colgate. The paper outlines strategies to prevent and manage dental caries (tooth decay) through concerted action by oral health professionals, policymakers and the general public.

Dr Patrick Hescot, FDI President, said, “Untreated dental caries affects almost half of the world’s population (44%), yet in many countries there are still no action plans implemented to address this growing disease burden. FDI is committed to protecting populations from the pain, suffering and even tooth loss caused by dental caries through effective prevention strategies.”

The white paper, launched during the Annual World Dental Congress in Poznań, Poland (7-10 September), outlines how dental practitioners can shift from a restorative approach to the management of dental caries to one focused on delivering preventive dental medicine. It also highlights that this cannot be done in isolation and calls for policymakers to implement population-wide prevention strategies (e.g. availability of fluoride, taxation on sugary foods and drinks) as well as for third-party payers to change outdated remuneration models.

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Prof. Nigel Pitts, co-author of the paper said, “Oral health is a basic human right, yet 3.9 billion people are affected by oral disease globally because the necessary systems to control the burden are simply not in place. We have outlined evidence-based solutions for dental caries in this white paper. These must be urgently translated into actions at the clinical and policy levels, so that oral health professionals can provide the best possible care to their patients.”

Dr Marsha Butler, VP Global Oral Care, Colgate, added, “We are proud to be supporting the Caries Prevention Partnership, which in addition to providing high-quality educational material recognizes innovative projects by FDI member associations, to address the caries burden at a country level through the presentation of two FDI Smile Awards. This year’s winners were from the Palestinian and Cambodian Dental Associations and we look forward to supporting further projects in 2017.”

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Suggestions for policymakers

Conclusions from the paper suggest that the oral health community and policymakers alike must now urgently commit to:

  • Supporting caries prevention efforts at both the individual and population levels
  • Initiating a shift in the management of caries
  • Promoting a redefinition of cariology curricula
  • Working towards a stronger integration of oral health within general health policy
  • Participating in rethinking remuneration for caries prevention and management
  • Encouraging data-driven, evidence-based caries prevention and management

Prof. Domenick Zero, co-author, stressed, “Many groups and organizations within dentistry have been asking for a move towards more effective caries prevention and preservation of sound tooth structure for over 20 years now. It is time to stop talking and start doing. The white paper strives to be a useful tool in this endeavour.”

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Professor Nigel Pitts is Director of the Dental Innovation & Translation Centre at King’s College London.

Professor Domenick Zero is Director of the Oral Health Research Institute at Indiana University School of Dentistry: [email protected]

About FDI World Dental Federation

FDI World Dental Federation serves as the principal representative body for over 1 million dentists worldwide. Its membership includes some 200 national member associations and specialist groups in over 130 countries. FDI’s vision: ‘leading the world to optimal oral health.’ – CNW FDI

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