WHO report presents opportunities to improve state of global oral health

Report provides comprehensive picture of oral disease burden, progress in 194 countries

The status of global oral health is alarming and requires urgent action, according to a new Global Oral Health Status Report released Nov. 18 by the World Health Organization that provides the first-ever comprehensive picture of oral disease burden with data profiles for 194 countries, including the U.S.

The report, which underscores that oral health continues to be one of the WHO’s priorities, reviews the most recent data on major oral diseases, risk factors, health system challenges and opportunities for reform, and is intended to serve as a reference for policymakers and a wide range of stakeholders to guide advocacy towards better prioritization of oral health globally, regionally and nationally.

ADA President George R. Shepley, D.D.S., said that the report shows how the global burden of oral diseases and conditions affects the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

“Oral health is integral to overall health,” said Dr. Shepley. “The first step to improving access to oral health services is recognizing those individuals across the globe facing the burdens of oral diseases and conditions. This report shows how overlooked essential oral health care services are in some countries, and how this global action plan is necessary to track and manage these inequalities and deliver necessary care. The American Dental Association supports policies and programs that reduce oral health inequities, ensure meaningful oral health access and improve the overall health of individuals.”