New campaign: EFP calls for action to improve oral health

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New campaign: EFP calls for action to improve oral health

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Increased awareness is needed of the link between oral health and medical conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To this end, the European Federation of Periodontology just launched a new campaign that includes a new website with information for stakeholders. (Screenshot: perioandcaries.efp.org)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Wed. 17. January 2018

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MADRID, Spain: The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), a non-profit umbrella organisation of 30 national scientific societies of periodontology, has launched an awareness campaign to encourage the public and authorities to improve oral health. The initiative includes a new website that provides recommendations for health professionals, researchers, policymakers and the public.

With the new campaign, themed “Teeth are for a lifetime. Take action!”, the EFP aims to call attention to the growing burden of dental caries and severe periodontal disease, and raise awareness of the simple and cost-effective preventative interventions available to address these conditions.

Caries and periodontal disease are among the most common non-communicable diseases, yet they are largely preventable. They can lead to tooth loss, which severely affects quality of life, and recent studies have linked periodontal disease to serious health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

The Perio and Caries initiative is directed towards dental and other health professionals, researchers, the public and policymakers. The 30 national societies that make up the EFP will promote the campaign in their countries, with actions targeted at local communities and authorities. Recommendations are based on the consensus of over 75 experts in the field of periodontology and cariology who carefully analysed the existing scientific evidence during the 2016 EFP Perio Workshop.

The associated website, perioandcaries.efp.org, offers up-to-date information and recommendations, including infographics and key messages, for all stakeholders.

“Retaining healthy teeth is a vital issue,” explained author of the recommendations Dr Nicola West, who is Professor of Periodontology at the University of Bristol in the UK. “Tooth loss leads to worse nutritional status and negatively impacts patients’ quality of life as well as national health systems.”

“Periodontal disease is a warning sign for other health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said West. “Therefore, the EFP is calling for increased collaboration between dental and general health research and for oral health to be considered as an integral part of overall health. Specific attention should be given to the needs of the growing ageing population and to providing equal access to dental care for patients from all socio-economic backgrounds,” she added.

“Another important issue is the need to advocate for nutritional policies that reduce access to sugary foods in public areas, especially in educational and recreational environments,” West highlighted.

“Our main message is that tooth loss, periodontal diseases and caries are nearly always preventable. There is an urgent need to reinforce public education,” West said. She explained that following recommendations such as brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day, reducing the amount and frequency of sugar and starch consumed, avoiding tobacco and visiting the dentist twice a year would improve dental and general health, as well as reduce the economic burden of periodontal disease and caries.

The EFP, founded in 1991, represents more than 14,000 periodontists and gingival health professionals from Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East. The foundation’s strategic vision is expressed by the slogan “Periodontal health for a better life”. The EFP is the driving force behind EuroPerio, the world’s leading congress on periodontology. EuroPerio9 will be held in Amsterdam in the Netherlands from 20 to 23 June 2018.

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