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FDI call for a preventive focus in the pursuit of a ‘Smile for life’

Geneva, 18 February 2015 - In the weeks leading up to World Oral Health Day on 20 March, the FDI is calling for a focus on prevention to help achieve a healthy ‘Smile for life’.


Governments, national dental associations, schools, communities, and families all have an important role to play in effective prevention strategies, in particular by raising awareness of good oral hygiene and habits contributing to good oral health.

Globally, oral disease affects most adults and as many as 90% of schoolchildren. Oral diseases are a significant burden on overall health, with the greatest burden falling on disadvantaged and poor populations. The principal problems are: dental caries, periodontal diseases and oral cancer.

Relatively simple, inexpensive measures can largely prevent these conditions and thus reduce the high burden of oral disease, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day; however, research has revealed that the poorest populations of developing countries have the least access to affordable toothpaste.

Water fluoridation, therefore, may be particularly appropriate for such populations demonstrating moderate to high risk of dental decay. It confers positive health savings and contributes to reducing disparities in the rates of dental decay in communities.

Also of preventive value is reducing the intake of sugary foods and drinks, and limiting their consumption to meal times, as well as cutting tobacco use and reducing how much alcohol is drunk.

Oral health can also be improved by rinsing with a fluoride-based mouthwash and chewing sugar-free gum after meals when on-the-go.

FDI President Dr Tin Chun Wong said: ‘The FDI recommends a comprehensive preventive approach as the most appropriate method of reducing the heavy burden of dental decay worldwide.

‘This is particularly important given the unequal access to care worldwide. For example, in Ethiopia the population per oral health professional is 1.3 million, while in Croatia this figure is just 560. These statistics show just how much work needs to be done to address this issue, which compromises quality of life, as quickly as we can.

‘Ideally, a good oral health regime includes regular check-ups with a dental practitioner so, where there is access, the FDI urges individuals to talk to their dentist about best means of prevention.’

WOHD is celebrated throughout the world on 20 March each year with a wide range of awareness-raising activities organised by dentists, dental students and National Dental Associations (NDAs).


About FDI

FDI World Dental Federation serves as the principal representative body for more than 1 million dentists worldwide, developing health policy and continuing education programmes, speaking as a unified voice for dentistry in international advocacy, and supporting member associations in global oral health promotion activities. FDI is in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) and is a member of the World Health Professionals Alliance (WHPA).

For more information, visit: www.fdiworldental.org

About World Oral Health Day

World Oral Health Day is celebrated every year on 20th March. The theme of World Oral Health Day 2015 is ‘Smile for life’. It reflects the major contribution oral health makes to our lives. Around the world, FDI member dental associations, schools, companies and other groups will celebrate the day with events organized under this single, unifying and simple message.

For more information, visit: www.worldoralhealthday.org















FDI Policy Statements

Need and Demand for Oral Health Care (2005).

Preventing Oral Diseases’ (2008).

Promoting Dental Health Through Water Fluoridation (2008).

Promoting Dental Health through Fluoride Toothpaste (2008).

Sugar Substitutes and their Role in Caries Prevention (2008).

Improving access to oral care (2009).

Oral Health and the Social Determinants of Health (2013).

Index of FDI Policy Statements at www.fdiwordental.org/policystatements

As well as

Global Affordability of Fluoride Toothpaste (2006). - www.fdiworldental.org/global-affordability-of-fluoride-toothpaste



World Oral Health Day 2015 partners


LISTERINE® brand Mouthwash, part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies

As the world’s number one daily mouth rinse, LISTERINE® Mouthwash has been used by more than one billion people in more than 85 countries. Professional dental organizations around the world have awarded LISTERINE® Mouthwash with their seals of acceptance.

LISTERINE® is distributed by Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., a part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, which is the world’s sixth-largest consumer health company and is a segment of Johnson & Johnson, the world’s most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products.




Unilever Oral Care is a leading global manufacturer of oral care products, including toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash, represented by brands including Signal, Pepsodent, Close Up, Mentadent, Aim, P/S and Zhong Hua. Unilever recognizes that good oral health and the sense of well-being and confidence it brings, is a vital element to making people look good, feel good and get more out of life and that small every day actions, such as twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, add up to make a big difference for the world. Through its science, products, partnerships and international network, Unilever Oral Care is privileged with the power to make a sustainable and measurable improvement to oral health around the world.


Henry Schein

Henry Schein, Inc. is the world's largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health and medical practitioners.  A Fortune 500®[1] Company and a member of the NASDAQ 100®[2] Index (NASDAQ Ticker: HSIC), Henry Schein employs more than 17,500 Team Schein Members and serves more than 800,000 customers. Headquartered in Melville, N.Y., Henry Schein has operations or affiliates in 28 countries. Through Henry Schein Cares, the Company’s global corporate social responsibility program, Henry Schein helps expand access to health care for underserved and at-risk communities around the world. For more information, visit the Henry Schein Web site at www.henryschein.com.


Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP)

WOHP partners with dental professionals worldwide, helping them improve their patients’ oral health through one extra simple and enjoyable step in their daily routine: chewing sugarfree gum after eating and drinking on-the-go. WOHP supports independent clinical research into the benefits of chewing gum, including saliva stimulation, plaque acid neutralization and tooth strengthening. For more information, visit: www.wrigleyoralcare.com


[1] The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies incur. The list includes publicly and privately held companies for which revenues are publicly available. The first Fortune 500 list was published in 1955.

[2] The NASDAQ Stock Market, commonly known as the NASDAQ, is an American stock exchange. NASDAQ originally stood for National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations. It is the second-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, after the New York Stock Exchange. The exchange platform is owned by NASDAQ OMX Group, which also owns the OMX stock market network.


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