08 February 2021
The Role of Dentistry in Global Health: Challenges and Research Priorities
In a paper published recently, academics from King’s College London have built on the previous work to investigate the role of dentistry in global health, their challenges, and research priorities.
Despite some improvements in the oral health of populations globally, major problems remain, most notably among under-privileged communities of low- and middle-income countries, but also in more high-income countries.
The release of the Lancet issue on oral health in July 2019 gained some momentum and put oral conditions and dental services in the limelight. Yet, much work is still needed to bridge the gap between dental research and global health and to get oral health recognized as a population health priority worldwide.
In a paper published on February 4 in the Journal of Dental Research, academics from King’s College London have built on previous work to investigate the role of dentistry in global health, their challenges, and research priorities.
The team from the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences argue that a global health network for oral health must be harnessed to influence global health policy and drive health system reform.
From their experience working in the global health arena and with collaborators in multi-disciplinary teams, they have identified challenges around four key areas: problem definition, positioning, coalition-building and governance. These challenges are outlined to validate them externally, but also to call the attention of interested players inside and outside dentistry. How well the dental profession addresses these challenges will shape their performance during the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) era and beyond.
This analysis is followed by a discussion of fundamental gaps in knowledge, particularly in three areas of oral health action:
(1) epidemiology and health information systems,
(2) collection, harmonization, and rigorous assessment of evidence for prevention, equity, and treatment, and
(3) optimal strategies for delivering essential, quality care to all who need it, without facing financial hardship.
Role of Dentistry in Global Health: Challenges and Research Priorities by Hugo, Kassebaum, Marcenes and Bernabe was first published in the Journal of Dental Research on February 4, 2021, and can be accessed here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0022034521992011