Let’s say ahh and act on the health of our mouth, gums, teeth and tongue! It is important to maintain good oral health but let’s not forget that a healthy smile can safeguard our overall health and wellbeing.
Celebrating World Oral Health Day in March this year, we called on everyone to take action against oral disease and understand the important association between oral health and overall systemic health. With our Philips solutions, ranging from power toothbrushes to the interdental Airfloss to dental whitening, we are committed to offering a complete solution for consumers – and, most importantly, giving them the tools to take control of their health. For me, this is where we really deliver on our mission to help improve people’s lives!
Driving understanding of oral systemic health
Given our deep expertise and understanding in Oral Healthcare, I see it as part of our ambition to be a lifetime partner for people and our responsibility to help inform them about this important – but often little understood – aspect of health.
While many people know that exercise, nutrition and sleep contribute to health, fewer are aware of the role oral health can play. According to the World Health Organization, oral health is a key indicator of overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. Oral diseases are the most common non-communicable diseases, affecting 3.9 billion people worldwide.
As we learn more about this connection, with a great deal of research still underway, we need to also consider how we can increase people’s understanding of their oral health and support them to adopt good habits.
Access to care and the rise of digital technology
Access to care is an important barrier that we need to help people address. If you live far away from a dentist, regular visits or making a journey when you have a small issue can be difficult. Digital technology has the potential to change this, personalize solutions and help people connect with a dentist more often than once or twice a year.
The latest development I am excited about is our Philips Sonicare Teledentistry solution. By sharing pictures of their mouth via their smartphone, people can be connected directly with a dentist to get answers on issues they are concerned about or to ask questions following treatment. This service does not replace the in-person trips to the dentist but can complement and allow guided preventative care between appointments.
Innovating with the industry
Dental practitioners are of course key to improving oral health and I was happy to speak with many at the International Dental Show in Cologne last week. We work closely with dentists to develop and deliver educational content on oral systemic health; partnering with academic leaders, such as UNC Dentistry and the Academic Center for Dentistry Amsterdam, to identify causal links in oral systemic health. In 2016 we joined the Harvard initiative to integrate Oral Health and Medicine, which advocates for the integration of oral health and primary care.
Insurers are a vital player in the oral healthcare industry and I am happy that we have recently announced our partnership with Delta Dental, the largest dental plan provider in the United States, to advance oral health and improve healthcare outcomes.
Working towards the shared goal of good oral health for all, I am proud that already for a few years Philips partners with the FDI World Dental Federation for World Oral Health Day.
Together we are pushing for a better understanding of oral systemic health and supporting people to achieve better oral health for the good of both mouth and body. So that more of us can enjoy a healthy smile!
Roy Jakobs is Executive Vice President and Chief Business Leader for the Personal Health Businesses of Royal Philips, effective October 1, 2018. He is also member of the Executive Committee of Royal Philips. The Personal Health businesses comprise Personal Care, Domestic Appliances, Oral Healthcare and Mother & Child Care.