Woman using Philips Sonicare

Jun 09, 2021

World Health Organization resolution coincides with Philips’ belief that oral health and overall health are linked

Estimated reading time: 4-6 minutes

On May 27, 2021, the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), voted to approve a landmark resolution urging WHO Member States to address key factors that increase the risk of oral disease that are shared with other noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer[1]. In view of the widely accepted link between oral health and overall health, this important new resolution will place preventative oral care much higher on the agenda of primary healthcare systems and make oral care services a key component of universal health coverage (UHC).

As a global leader in health technology with a strong footprint in oral care and in the diagnosis and treatment of potentially consequential morbidities such as heart disease and cancer, Philips fully supports this new WHO resolution. Philips has for a long time recognized the oral-systemic health link and is uniquely positioned to deliver solutions that improve people’s daily oral care routines and help dental professionals take better care of their patients. Reorienting oral healthcare from its traditional curative approach to a preventative approach that includes early risk identification within primary healthcare settings, as proposed by this new WHO resolution, will not only ensure better oral health but also help to prevent long-term debilitating conditions that already place an enormous burden on healthcare systems around the world.

Now that the resolution has been formally adopted, we remain committed to fostering discussions that contribute to a global understanding of oral health’s connection with overall health.

Jan Kimpen

Chief Medical Officer at Philips

“When the WHO resolution was first proposed in January, 2021, we were excited to see the industry conversations around oral-systemic health that it generated,” said Jan Kimpen, Chief Medical Officer at Philips. “Now that the resolution has been formally adopted, we remain committed to fostering discussions that contribute to a global understanding of oral health’s connection with overall health. It’s why we are actively helping dental professionals to provide their patients with the research, tools, and knowledge needed to support their overall health. We look forward to the positive impact this resolution will have in the months and years to come.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only resulted in many people being reluctant to visit their dental professional, it has also made it very difficult for dental professionals to manage the operational risk both to themselves and their patients. However, at the same time it has also increased people’s awareness and appreciation of their health. As populations emerge from the pandemic, the WHO resolution therefore comes at an opportune moment. More and more people are actively seeking greater control of their health through online resources, apps and connected products but gaps in their knowledge and daily commitment to good oral hygiene remain. By integrating oral healthcare into WHO Member States’ primary care policies, the resolution aims to reduce concerns by enabling patients to have more regular conversations with their dental professionals about oral health issues and the links to overall health.

There are a number of health concerns related to gum disease (periodontal disease) that may occur during a patient’s lifetime. More often than not, by the time patients take it seriously and visit a dental professional it is too late. Multiple studies have revealed linkages between periodontal disease and diseases such as diabetes and  heart disease [2][3].

Philips aims to be a trusted resource for dental patients with connected products.  Our company’s latest Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige power toothbrush harnesses the power of artificial intelligence optimizing the user’s brushing technique, ensuring full coverage of their teeth, and instills brushing habits that improve oral health.  Our recent study clinically proved that the Philips 9900 Prestige with an A3 brush head improved the gum health and reduced the risk of gum disease for study participants [4].

Collaborations between insurances, such as the latest agreement between Philips and United  Concordia Dental, also underline the importance of good oral care and how prevention of oral diseases can lead to a better overall health.  

Philips is committed to working with WHO Member States to implement the World Health Assembly’s resolution, and continuing to facilitate new research and develop new resources to help dental professionals and their patients, especially those in disadvantaged and underserved communities. Supporting better oral health is just one of the ways that Philips is advancing toward its goal of improving the lives of 2.5 billion people a year by 2030.

[1] World Health Assembly Resolution paves the way for better oral health care. (2021, May 27). World Health Organization.
[2] Genco, R. J., Graziani, F., & Hasturk, H. (2020). Effects of periodontal disease on glycemic control, complications, and incidence of diabetes mellitus. Periodontology 2000, 83(1), 59–65.
[3] Sanz, M., Marco del Castillo, A., Jepsen, S., Gonzalez‐Juanatey, J. R., D’Aiuto, F., Bouchard, P., Chapple, I., Dietrich, T., Gotsman, I., Graziani, F., Herrera, D., Loos, B., Madianos, P., Michel, J., Perel, P., Pieske, B., Shapira, L., Shechter, M., Tonetti, M., . . . Wimmer, G. (2020). Periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases: Consensus report. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 47(3), 268–288.
[4] Starke, EM., (Nov 2020). A comparison of the effects of the Philips Sonicare 9900 Prestige power toothbrush with A3 Premium All-in-One brush head versus a manual toothbrush on plaque levels and gingival health. Manuscript in preparation.

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Laura Seikritt

Laura Seikritt

Philips Global Press Office

Tel.: +31 6 20740318

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