Despite being largely preventable, oral diseases (tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, and oral cancer) are among the most prevalent diseases globally affecting over 3.5 billion people. Oral conditions have serious health, psychosocial and economic burdens, significantly reducing quality of life of those affected. Oral diseases disproportionally affect poorer, marginalised, and vulnerable groups in society, being closely linked to socioeconomic status and the broader social determinants of health. Oral conditions share common risk factors with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including free sugar consumption, tobacco use, and harmful alcohol consumption, as well as the wider commercial determinants driving these risk factors.
Twenty-seven experts across academic research, policymaking, health and human rights advocacy, and clinical dentistry from 16 countries around the world and with gender balance have been appointed as Commissioners on the new Lancet Commission on Oral Health. Collectively they have a wide range of relevant expertise and experience in oral and global public health to address the policy neglect and system failure of oral diseases.
First meeting, 12-13 March 2020
The first meeting of the Commission provided an opportunity for the Commissioners to get to know one another, to understand the details of how Lancet Commissions operate and their potential impact, and to be briefed on the background context of global oral health. The two-day meeting principally focused on agreeing the main strategic priorities and core themes for the Commission and the formation of working groups to develop initial work plans for each agreed priority.
Governance and advocacy for global oral health. Explore best practices to raise the political and policy profile of oral health and integrate oral health within the wider health policy and development frameworks.
Equity, social justice and oral health. Develop improved evidence-based monitoring systems to assess oral health equity, review evidence of effectiveness of interventions to reduce oral health inequalities, and inform policy development to promote oral health equity.
Health system reform, governance and transformation. Provide evidence to support policy and decision makers to develop robust and resilient (oral) health care systems across the globe including human resources, payment systems, integrated delivery models, appropriate technology, and minimising environmental impact.
Commercial determinants. Highlight and expose the influence of industry and profit motives on all aspects of oral health including education, research, service delivery and policy, and develop appropriate means of minimising this influence and improving the transparency of industry relationships with oral health stakeholders.
This Commission is supported by The Lancet.
The Commission would like to express its thanks and gratitude to the Borrow Foundation for their generous support of this Lancet Commission. Funding has also been received from the UCL Faculty of Population Health, UCL Eastman Dental Institute and the UCLH National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre - Oral Health and Disease Theme.