The Oral Health Foundation (OHF) is launching a new strategy for improving oral health that will run through 2024. Titled “Better Oral Health for All,” the strategy addresses today’s growing oral health demands, OHF says. It also sets out how OHF will tackle oral disease and help improve the quality of life for millions of people in the United Kingdom and around the world.
To eradicate dental disease and build a healthier society, the new strategy focuses on a series of key oral health pledges:
- Helping the most vulnerable members of society with oral health campaigns across local communities.
- Making sure young people get the best start in life by providing them with the means to have a healthy mouth.
- Giving all people access to free, practical, and emotional support for their oral health programs.
- Meeting the needs of organizations by creating products and programs so they can deliver trusted educational messages and training for better oral health.
- Making an impact on the health of future generations by influencing public policy.
The strategic document comes at a time where half of the world’s adult population has tooth decay, including 500 million children who have decay in their baby teeth, the OHF says. Dr. Nigel Carter, OBE, chief executive of the OHF, believes the strategy will have a significant impact on the organization’s work, improving the oral health and well-being of the population.
“We are more determined than ever before to champion good oral health and help create a better, healthier future for everyone. Despite many positive changes to the landscape of oral health, there is still more work to be done. Twice-daily brushing, an excess of sugar in our food and drink, and access to basic dental services all remain difficult challenges,” Carter said.
“We also have to address the rise of mouth cancer, along with driving high uptake of a gender-neutral vaccination for the human papillomavirus (HPV). These are coupled with an ongoing need to prevent dental caries and promote the benefits of fluoride,” said Carter.
“Poverty, mobility, independence, and isolation all affect a person’s ability to care for their oral health. Our society must break these barriers and give everybody the opportunity to be in good oral health,” Carter said.
To help more people achieve good oral health, the OHF plans to strengthen its partnership work with the dental and health profession, local councils, and the education sector. It also says it will become more involved in policy, lobbying government for positive changes. By 2024, the OHF aims to:
- Reduce the high level of oral disease across the country
- Improve the accessibility and diversity of all oral health information and support services
- Work with health bodies, workplaces, and schools, to make sure everybody receives trusted information, materials, and resources for their oral health
- Help people become healthier by successfully campaigning for better policies
- Protect the public by making sure oral health products do what they claim to do
Through the five-year strategy, the OHF also plans on organizing several new oral health campaigns on sugar, dementia, alcohol, smoking, and drug awareness. These factors have been identified due to the negative impact they can have on oral health and general healthiness and well-being.
“Oral health inequalities and poor lifestyle factors continue to impact the most vulnerable members of our society through no real fault of their own,” said Elizabeth Kay, OHF president. “The Oral Health Foundation, through its strategy to 2024, will continue to lead the way in campaigning for better oral health and an improvement in quality of life.”