June 14, 2021

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Extraordinary healthy

Addressing oral health and NCDs at #WHA74

This is a statement made at the 74th session of the World Health Assembly on Agenda item 13.2: Political declaration of the third high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases by the World Dental Federation and the International Association for Dental Research supported by the World Heart Federation, Smile Train, NCD Alliance, International Diabetes Federation, International Society of Nephrology and World Stroke Organization.

On behalf of FDI World Dental Federation and the International Association for Dental Research, representing over 1 million dentists, and the International Association for Dental Research, representing over 10,000 researchers, supported by Smile Train, NCDA, IDF, ISN, WHF and WSO, we thank Sri Lanka for leading the resolution on Oral health.

Oral diseases affect almost half of the world’s population and are strongly associated with other NCDs. Optimal oral health for all will only be achieved if the response is integrated within the NCD and UHC agendas. We urge Member States to adopt the proposed resolution and strengthen its implementation by:

  1. Addressing orofacial clefts, access to affordable fluoridated toothpaste, and community-based fluoridation where relevant, as advised by the updated DG’s report.
  2. Promoting dental research to strengthen evidence on prevention, oral health disparities, oral disease associations with other NCDs such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, mental and neurological disorders, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancers; and research into full alternatives to dental amalgam, being affordable and accessible.
  3. Meaningfully engaging people living with oral diseases, oral health professionals, national dental associations, and other civil society organizations in oral health programmes.
  4. Ensuring that future processes, such as the proposed resolution on Diabetes and the upcoming 2023–2030 NCD implementation roadmap, integrate and align with the resolution on Oral health.

Member States must ensure that the proposed global oral health strategy, action plan, 2030 targets, and “best buys” aim to integrate oral health into national NCD strategies and health budgets, focusing on shared risk factors; including essential oral health services into UHC benefits packages; strengthening the oral health workforce through multidisciplinary care teams; and improving oral health surveillance.

To support this, FDI’s Vision 2030: Delivering Optimal Oral Health for All report provides several examples of national action on integrated oral health.