A GLOBAL CONSENSUS for Achieving a Dental Cavity-free Future


May 18, 2021

Dental caries is the most prevalent non-communicable disease (NCD) in the world. It is a chronic disease, which afflicts people of all ages, and follows sufferers throughout the life-course. It is estimated that more than 2.3 billion people globally suffer from untreated caries of permanent teeth, with a further 530 million children suffering from untreated caries of primary teeth. Whilst caries can, and does, affect people from all backgrounds, children and adults from disadvantaged population groups see disproportionate levels of disease. Despite these stark figures, it is widely acknowledged that with appropriate interventions in place, caries can be managed, and the resulting cavities are largely preventable. It is only through effective collaboration across the broad spectrum of public health bodies that real steps can be taken towards making cavities history.

WFPHA published a series of articles on global oral health in the perspective of public health in the past years. This viewpoint aims to highlight oral health from a global health perspective, calling for all public health leaders to advocate for oral health of all. WFPHA acknowledges that oral diseases are a neglected epidemic affecting all ages globally while most oral diseases are preventable and share major risk factors with other NCD. Integration of oral health into public health systems is still limited in both clinical and health policy perspectives. In March 2021, the Alliance for a Cavity-Free Future ‘Making Cavities History’ Taskforce published A Global Consensus for achieving a dental cavity-free future. The Consensus and its policy recommendations lay out clear measures for policy makers to follow to promote oral and general health through minimising the occurrence of caries and cavities. These recommendations support the approaches outlined in the WHO 2021 Resolution on Oral Health which will be put forward to the World Health Assembly in May 2021.

The WFPHA endorses this ACFF initiative, and believes it clearly highlights the importance of collaboration between professionals and associations from across the spectrum of public health in tackling this issue, rather than approaching caries prevention as solely a dental responsibility. We also strongly recommend oral health as an essential part of public health policy and oral health-related activities to be aligned with the Global Charter for the Public’s Health Framework. Only through increased collaboration and a collective approach to prevention can we hope to make cavities history and create a fairer future for all.