In May 2021 the World Health Assembly approved a new Resolution on Oral Health. This resolution recognised the heavy global burden that oral health diseases, including caries, place on governments worldwide and seeks to address the key risk factors surrounding the issues. This includes highlighting the factors that these diseases share with other noncommunicable diseases, such as the high intake of free sugars, and the Resolution recommends that government policies promote a preventive approach rather than the curative approach which has historically been favoured. The Resolution also promotes oral disease as a general health issue that needs buy-in from families, schools and workplaces as well as the primary health-care system to overcome. This stance aligns closely with what the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future and the FDI World Dental Federation have been promoting.
The FDI is the principal representative body for over one million dentists worldwide and aims to lead global advocacy to increase oral health literacy and achieve political commitment and action on oral health in all countries. As oral health diseases have not been a priority for many national governments, the FDI has worked tirelessly to promote, develop and disseminate policies, standards and information surrounding oral health and have collated all of their FDI Policy Statements on their website, which can be easily found at www.fdiworlddental.org/policy-statements. With the landscape of oral health policy changing following the Resolution on Oral Health, this is a vital resource for anyone wanting to track global policy changes on the subject.
The FDI’s policy on Carious Lesions and First Restorative Treatment was approved in 2019 and promotes minimal intervention in the management of dental caries. The policy can be found at www.fdiworlddental.org/carious-lesions-and-first-restorative-treatment.
The FDI’s Carious Lesions and First Restorative Treatment policy complements the policy guidelines laid out in the ACFF’s Global Consensus for achieving a cavity-free future, which can be downloaded here. This document is the result of the ACFF’s Making Cavities History Taskforce, a working group focused on ensuring that caries is brought into focus within international healthcare discussion. The Global Consensus was published in March 2021 and contains a series of policy recommendations that are easy to understand and, if followed by a national government, will ensure an effective cycle of caries prevention and management within healthcare and offer the best opportunities to see improvements in oral and overall health.
Along with the FDI’s Carious Lesions and First Restorative Treatment policy, the Global Consensus seeks to spotlight caries as an issue for global governments in a way that supports the new WHO Resolution. These three documents, when combined together, make a potent tool in the fight for a cavity-free future.
To achieve this goal however, collaboration across organisations must continue and grow. With the WHO Resolution, the FDI’s Carious Lesions and First Restorative Treatment (and its recent Vision 2030 statement) and the ACFF’s Global Consensus all aligning and sending the same message, there has not been a better time than now for national dental associations to push oral health in their country. The FDI has even produced a Policy Statement Toolkit, (which can be found at www.fdiworlddental.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/FDI-Policy_Statement_Toolkit-2019_EN.pdf) full of information about their Policy Statements and tips on how to use them to promote oral health.
If you would like to read more about A Global Consensus for achieving a cavity-free future please visit https://www.acffglobal.org/making-cavities-history/. The ACFF is seeking national and international associations, organisations and educational institutions to endorse the document and you can download the endorsement document here.