Oral health has been isolated from traditional healthcare and health policy for too long, despite the major global public health burden of oral diseases, according to a Lancet Series on Oral Health, published in The Lancet.
Failure of the global health community to prioritise the global burden of oral health has led to calls from Lancet Series authors for the radical reform of dental care,
tightened regulation of the sugar industry, and greater transparency around conflict of interests in dental research.
Oral diseases, including tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancers, affect almost half of the global population, with untreated dental decay the most common health condition worldwide.
Lip and oral cavity cancers are among the top 15 most common cancers in the world. In addition to lower quality of life, oral diseases have a major economic impact on both individuals and the wider health care system.
In high-income countries (HIC), dentistry is increasingly technology-focused and trapped in a treatment-over-prevention cycle, failing to tackle the underlying causes of oral diseases.
Oral health conditions share many of the same underlying risk factors as non-communicable diseases, such as sugar consumption, tobacco use and harmful alcohol consumption.