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No health without oral health: how the dental community can leverage the ncd agenda to deliver on the 2030 sustainable development goals FDI-noncommunicable disease alliance (NCD Alliance) joint session

David M. Williams (United Kingdom)
Katie Dain (United Kingdom)
Rob Beaglehole (New Zealand)
Richard Watt (United Kingdom)

Time: 11:30 - 13:00
Room: 106
Language: English
Chair(s): Claudio Fernandes (Brazil)
CERP: 2.5

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic respiratory diseases, and mental and neurological disorders, cause more deaths than all other diseases combined; an estimated 39.5 million every year in total – equivalent to 70% of global mortality. Oral diseases affect 3.9 billion people globally, with untreated tooth decay (dental caries) impacting almost half of the world’s population (44%), making it one of the most prevalent diseases. Yet despite their magnitude and impact on overall health and well-being, awareness of oral diseases among politicians, health planners and even members of the public health community remains low. There is clear evidence that oral diseases are not inevitable, but can be reduced or prevented through simple and effective measures at all stages of the life course, both at the individual and population levels.

Oral disease and other NCDs are driven by the same risk factors and social determinants, namely poor diet, particularly one rich in sugar, together with tobacco and alcohol use. Aside from oral diseases and other NCDs presenting as co- morbidities on account of these shared risk factors, some NCDs such as CVD, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and pancreatic cancer have also been linked with gum disease and poor oral health. With increasingly ageing populations, there is an urgent need to strengthen and reorient health policies and healthcare systems for a comprehensive and integrated prevention and management of chronic conditions. A joint response to oral diseases and other NCDs, especially in the era of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is critical in delivering the best patient care.

David M. Williams (United Kingdom)

Learning Objectives

  • > Understand the practical implications of the new oral health definition and how it helps integrate oral health into the broader NCD agenda
  • > Why the oral health community are key stakeholders in the fight against NCDs and a holistic approach to patient care
  • > Help dentists understand the impact of NCD/oral health policies on their daily practice


The new definition of oral health was overwhelmingly approved by FDI’s General Assembly in 2016. This was a key part of the organization’s advocacy strategy known as Vision 2020. The definition, together with a companion framework, creates an opportunity for the profession to reflect on what oral health encompasses and what the implications of this definition for clinical practice and oral health policy are. Although oral health has been recognized for millennia to be    an essential component of overall health and well-being, it has not been clear whether oral health has meant the same thing for different components of our profession and for our stakeholders. And if we are uncertain as a profession what we mean, how can we explain ourselves clearly to our patients, other healthcare professionals, policy makers, and those others we seek to collaborate with and inform? A common definition can bring stakeholders together to advocate for the importance of oral health; to influence and shape parameters of care, health policies, research, education, and reimbursement models; and to shape the future of our profession. This presentation will highlight how the new definition helps oral health to be integrated within the NCD agenda and how that ultimately translates to better patient care. Specifically, within the context of the new measurement tool that is being developed to measure oral health outcomes.

Katie Dain (United Kingdom)

Learning Objectives

  • > Understand the history of the global political NCD response and its translation to national and regional action
  • > Explore the relevance of target 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals and other global political commitments for NCDs, to the oral health agenda
  • > Recognize the ways in which the oral health community can join and strengthen the NCD agenda for mutual benefit


Since the first UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs in 2011, there have been unprecedented global political commitments on NCD prevention and control, culminating with the inclusion of an NCD target in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. However, rates of progress on NCDs at national and regional level remain insufficient and uneven: a phenomenon which can only be altered with sustained multisectoral action, combining forces across different disease groups, and breaking down silos within global health. Engagement and action by the oral health community offers a crucial force in amplifying benefits of collaborative action, not least in preparations for the upcoming third UN HLM on NCDs in 2018.

Rob Beaglehole (New Zealand)

Learning Objectives

  • > Understand the vital role sugar plays in oral health and other NCDs
  • > Understand the role that dentists can play as advocates
  • > Learn the tools that can be used for advocacy


Rob will describe his experience as a public health advocate in the field of nutrition, focusing on sugary drink advocacy. Rob has been instrumental in firmly placing the dangers of sugary drinks on the national agenda, including helping to initiate policies where no sugary drinks are sold at hospitals, some Councils and schools around New Zealand. Rob will describe his interactions with the media and the food and beverage industry and how to leverage action. A brief description of his time at the World Health Organization will also be conveyed.

Richard Watt (United Kingdom)

Learning Objectives

  • > Understand the importance of including oral health in all policies
  • > Learn how to take a common risk factor approach to reduce the oral health and NCD burden
  • > Understand how to address the wider social determinants of health


The prevention and control of NCDs is based on the integration of the Common Risk Factor Approach and interventions addressing the shared wider social determinants of health. Because oral diseases share the same risk factors and determinants, there is a compelling case for integrating oral health goals into approaches directed at all NCDs. Furthermore, evidence for the enormous economic and social impact of poor oral health continues to accumulate. While oral health may benefit from strategies addressing NCDs, particularly from reducing consumption of sugar, tobacco and alcohol, strategies aimed at improving oral health can also make important contributions towards achieving the voluntary global NCD targets set for 2025 as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The WHO Sugars Guideline published in 2015 is an important example of this. The strong recommendation that sugars should not exceed 10 percent of energy intake was based on evidence for their effect on tooth decay. However, it is anticipated that adherence to the guidelines will also reduce other NCDs, especially obesity. Because so many of the determinants of both oral and general health lie outside the direct influence of healthcare systems, comprehensive intersectoral action is required to achieve improvements in health. It is imperative that oral health is included in all such strategies directed against the NCD epidemic. Every opportunity should be taken to advocate for the inclusion of ‘Oral Health in all Policies’.

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FDI 2017
29 August - 1 Septembre 2017
Madrid, Spain

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