Oral health: A core element of general health
Despite the high global burden of oral diseases, governments have treated oral health as a low priority issue for decades. In recent years, however, there has been a growing acceptance among policymakers that oral health is both an essential component to general health and well-being and is a basic human right.
FDI and its member associations have played a leading role in bringing oral health to the forefront. In particular, FDI’s advocacy, known as Vision 2020, has strengthened the position of oral health by improving its awareness and visibility at both the national and global level.
Building on this momentum, FDI’s advocacy strategy for 2018-2020 establishes a platform for oral health action over the next three years. It provides an overview of oral health successes, challenges, and opportunities, outlining the priorities that will be pursued to improve oral health. These priorities are encapsulated by three goals that will guide FDI’s work over the period of the strategy as follows:
- Ensuring that oral health is recognized and accepted as a core element of general health and well-being;
- Integrating oral health into the prevention and treatment of other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs); and
- Mobilizing members to build national capacity to effectively influence and shape oral health priorities on a global scale.
About Vision 2020
In 2012, FDI released the publication Vision 2020: Shaping the future of oral health1, which focused on how the oral health community can address oral health challenges and opportunities by 2020. This landmark publication then served as a blueprint for FDI’s national advocacy efforts. From 2013 to 2016, FDI’s national-level advocacy efforts were known as Vision 2020 and global activities were performed independently. In 2016, to strengthen FDI’s advocacy approach, national and global advocacy efforts were consolidated under Vision 2020. Vision 2020 is now FDI’s official advocacy strategy.
To implement Vision 2020’s global and national advocacy activities, an advocacy strategy was developed in 2016 and carried out until 2017 – the same year that FDI’s organizational strategic plan ended.
FDI’s strategic plan (2018-2021)
FDI’s advocacy strategy for 2018-2020 has been drafted and aligned according to the priorities outlined in FDI’s new organizational strategic plan for 2018-2021.
FDI’s organizational strategic plan (2018-2021) is underpinned by the overarching goal to: lead the global effort to improve oral health of populations to achieve general health and well-being of all at all ages.
Three strategic focus areas provide the broad framework for driving FDI’s work: membership, advocacy, and knowledge transfer.
- Membership: FDI will develop programmes and activities to meet the needs of its members and help raise the profile of oral health at a national level.
- Advocacy: FDI will lead global advocacy efforts to increase oral health literacy and achieve political commitment and action on oral health in all countries.
- Knowledge transfer: FDI will foster best practices in oral health science and education and share knowledge in preventive care and treatment to advance the art, science and practice of dentistry.
The context for FDI’s advocacy strategy (2018-2020)
- United with member associations to successfully advocate for oral health to be included within the United Nations (UN) Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs
- Played a key role in the negotiations to ensure the phase-down rather than phase-out of dental amalgam within the Minamata Convention of Mercury
- Built key strategic partnerships to integrate oral health into the broader NCD agenda
- Mobilized FDI member associations by equipping them with the tools and resources to advocate at a national level
- Developed a new definition of oral health2 to unite the global health community under a common language when referring to oral health
Challenges and opportunities to be addressed
- Encouraging governments and international organizations to prioritize oral health in order to address the global burden of oral diseases
- Accelerating action on oral health and NCDs for an integrated approach to prevention, control and care
- Integrating oral health into the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- Building upon FDI’s oral health definition with standard assessment and measurement tools to monitor change across all populations
FDI’s advocacy strategy (2018-2020)
FDI’s advocacy strategy for 2018-2020 has adopted three goals. These three goals and their respective objectives will help deliver the overall advocacy goal stated in FDI’s strategic plan, i.e. lead global advocacy efforts to increase oral health literacy and achieve political commitment and action on oral health in all countries.
Goal 1: Ensure oral health is recognized and accepted as a core element of general health and well-being
- Objective 1: FDI’s oral health definition adopted by 25% of members and the measurement tool is implemented to track progress
- Objective 2: Support the development of World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Oral Health Action Plan 2020–2030 and provide technical expertise to help advocate for an oral health in all policies approach
- Objective 3: Make progress in the inclusion of oral health promotion within dental and medical school curricula
Goal 2: Integrate oral health into prevention and treatment of other NCDs
- Objective 1: Gain global visibility for oral health within general health
- Objective 2: Strengthen health workforces and improve access to quality care
Goal 3: Mobilize members to build national capacity to effectively influence and shape oral health priorities on a global scale
- Objective 1: Improve the knowledge and capacity of member associations to advocate for oral health to be addressed as part of the NCD and UN 2030 Sustainable Development agendas
- Objective 2: Support members in the phase-down of dental amalgam and work with WHO and the UN Environment Programme to ensure they provide the necessary technical assistance and financial support
- Glick, M., Monteiro da Silva, O., Seeberger, G. K., Xu, T., Pucca, G., Williams, D. M., Kess, S., Eiselé, J.-L. and Séverin, T. (2012), FDI Vision 2020: shaping the future of oral health. Int Dent J, 62: 278–291. doi:10.1111/idj.12009. Available from: https://www.fdiworlddental.org/resources/journal-articles/fdi-vision-2020-a-blueprint-for-the-profession.
- Glick, M., Williams, D. M., Kleinman, D. V., Vujicic, M., Watt, R. G. and Weyant, R. J. (2016), A new definition for oral health developed by the FDI World Dental Federation opens the door to a universal definition of oral health. Int Dent J, 66: 322–324. doi:10.1111/idj.12294. Available from: https://www.fdiworlddental.org/oral-health/fdis-definition-of-oral-health.