Nearly twenty years after the publication of the World Oral Health Report in 2003, WHO launched the latest Global Oral Health Status Report (GOHSR) on 18 November. The event had high-level representation with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General giving the welcome remarks. Speakers included Ministers, Chief Dental Officers, youth, and citizen representatives as well as FDI President, Prof. Ihsane Ben Yahya and IADR President, Prof. Brian O’Connell, among others.
The report is another important milestone in the broader process of mobilizing political action and resources for oral health. The report will serve as a reference for policymakers, provide orientation for a wide range of stakeholders, including the relevant private sector, and guide the advocacy process towards achieving oral health for all.
First-ever country oral health profiles
The GOHSR, provides the first-ever comprehensive picture of the oral disease burden and highlights challenges and opportunities to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) for oral health. It includes the oral health profiles of countries based on the latest available data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and global WHO surveys.
Not surprisingly, it emphasizes the global impact of oral disease on our health and well-being and highlights stark inequalities, with a higher disease burden for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged population groups within and across societies.
“Our biggest challenge now is ensuring that all people, wherever they live and whatever their income, have the knowledge and tools needed to look after their teeth and mouths, and access to prevention and care when they need it.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General
The estimated number of cases of oral diseases (3.5 billion people, worldwide is about 1 billion more than cases of all five main NCDs (mental disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers) combined. An estimated 2.5 billion people suffer from untreated dental caries (tooth decay) alone. The occurrence of oral diseases is increasing globally, at a rate that outpaces population growth.
No ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution
During the panel discussion, FDI President, Prof. Ben Yahya highlighted that the country profiles demonstrated that there are national and regional differences in the oral health challenges faced so there is no ‘one-size-fits’ all approach that could be adopted. She pointed out that this had been emphasized in FDI’s Vision 2030 report.
She urged governments and policymakers to leverage the current momentum from the global oral health policy agenda to tackle the oral health needs of their populations. And encouraged them to work with FDI member associations to address the oral health challenges specific to their national circumstances. This would help towards ensuring equitable access to quality oral healthcare for everyone.
“There cannot be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Understanding the country-specific problems and mapping out the priorities, according to what the data and even the gaps show, will help FDI and its members to implement the most impactful strategies.”
Prof. Ihsane Ben Yahya, FDI President
Read the full intervention in English and French
Mobilizing political action
The GOHSR is part of WHO’s series of data reports and an important milestone in the larger process of mobilizing political action and resources for oral health. In alignment with the landmark World Health Assembly resolution WHA74.5 on oral health (2021), and the Global strategy on oral health (2022), the GOHSR will serve as a reference for policy-makers and provide orientation for a wide range of stakeholders across different sectors; and guide the advocacy process towards better prioritization of oral health in global, regional and national contexts.
Read WHO’s Global Oral Health Status Report
Access the oral health country profiles
Watch the launch event recording
Watch WHO's Science in 5: Oral Health