Since 2016, the FDI World Dental Federation and Philips have been partnering to promote World Oral Health Day. In an interview in Dental Tribune International, FDI President Dr Kathryn Kell and Business Leader of Philips Health and Wellness Sinéad Kwant discuss the significance of this day, challenges in improving oral health globally and how the collaboration between the two organizations can help.
Below you will find some excerpts from the interview. The complete interview can be found here.
DTI: In your opinion, is oral health improving globally?
Dr Kathryn Kell: As the authoritative voice of dentistry, it is our responsibility to step up to the challenges and drive the fight against oral disease to ensure that we are fulfilling our vision of leading the world to optimal oral health.
Sinéad Kwant: With almost four billion people worldwide affected by oral disease, it is our job to raise awareness of and educate people on the link between oral health and overall health and encourage them to develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.
In your opinion, what are the main risks or barriers to people not focusing on their oral health?
Kell: Lack of oral health education remains a main barrier to people maintaining good oral health. Therefore, we work hard to raise awareness of the importance of oral health and educate people on the intrinsic link between oral health and general health.
Kwant: Working with the FDI, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of building good oral health care routines and encourage people to visit their dental professional and, importantly, to follow his or her advice and maintain good routines between visits.
If we can get people to make small behavioral changes, these can go a long way towards positively impacting oral health, for example, through their diet and brushing their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.
Business Leader of Philips Health and Wellness
What do you hope your World Oral Health Day campaign will achieve?
Kell: We want people to make the connection between their oral health and their general health and recognize the close association between the two and the impact that one has on the other.
Kwant: If we can get people to make small behavioral changes, these can go a long way towards positively impacting oral health, for example, through their diet and brushing their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes.
What is next for the future of oral health care?
Kell: Prevention is key. We must shift our attention from a traditional restorative approach to one that emphasizes disease prevention and oral health promotion.
Kwant: We believe that we will see a move to more preventative care owing to the rise of digitally connected technology. This will change the way dental professionals communicate with their patients and hopefully improve patient compliance between visits.
It is never too early or too late to start looking after your mouth; your body will thank you!
Dr Kathryn Kell
If you could give one tip or piece of advice about oral health, what would it be?
Kell: It is never too early or too late to start looking after your mouth; your body will thank you! Adopting good oral hygiene habits, having a healthy diet that is low in sugar, quitting tobacco use, keeping away from excessive alcohol consumption, and having regular dental check-ups help protect the mouth and body at all ages.
Kwant: I would recommend visiting the dental professional, especially from a young age. I would like to encourage people to visit their dental professional or hygienist regularly and to follow his or her advice. The two most common types of oral disease, tooth decay and periodontal disease, are completely preventable with an effective oral care routine, brushing for 2 minutes twice a day. It is important to remember that good oral health is for life, not just for World Oral Health Day, and developing these habits from an early age can positively impact on longer term health and wellness.