19 Dec 2019

Oral health experts from around Europe, including the Oral Health Foundation’s Dr Nigel Carter OBE, have launched a new manifesto for improving oral health around the EU.

The manifesto, called ‘Why Oral Health Matters’, features five main policy areas that will advance oral health in Europe.

The recommendations have been published by the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe and have been released to coincide with the new intake of MEP’s and European Commission members.

Dr Carter, who is Chair of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, presented the manifesto in Brussels and says a European-wide approach to reducing oral disease is essential.

Dr Carter says: “Having good oral health is fundamental right for every European citizen. This can only be achieved by ensuring consideration of oral health across all policy areas.

“We have created an exciting opportunity for health leaders from all around Europe to come together and deliver effective solutions for reducing the burden of oral disease.”

Tooth decay is the most prevalent non-communicable disease both worldwide and in Europe. It can result in pain, tooth loss, infection, and loss of productivity.

The total cost for treating oral health related diseases in the EU is an estimated £85 billion per year.

Leading figures and associate members of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe met earlier this month at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss ways to advance oral health in Europe.

Why Oral Health Matters calls on policy-makers to take the necessary actions to actively promote good oral health by taking forward the following five policy recommendations:


Joined-up policies and adopt adequate budgets to alleviate the burden of oral health inequalities amongst European citizens.


The adoption of the WHO recommendations to reduce sugar consumption among EU citizens through a range of policy options, such as through ensuring proper implementation of the Audio-visual Media Services Directive.


Countries to adopt European evidence-based best practices on oral health promotion and education throughout the life-course, such as through tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste in schools and care homes.


Policy recommendations to support the achievement of Universal Health Coverage and SDG Goal 3, including ensuring access for all EU citizens to affordable quality oral health care.


Systematic collection of relevant oral health data to allow for better data-driven policy-making to reduce health inequalities and promote better health.

The full manifesto is available to download here.

Liberal Democrat MEP Jane Brophy opened the session and urged her colleagues in the European Parliament to push for the introduction of more oral health related matters on the parliamentary agenda. The MEP for North-West England also issued a rallying cry to her fellow members to fight against health inequalities, promote good oral and general health and prevent the development of non-communicable diseases. 

Professor Richard Watt followed by reminding senior politicians of the oral health crisis currently besetting our planet. During his presentation of The Lancet series on oral health, he highlighted that oral diseases affect around 3.5 billion people around the world. This makes them the most prevalent diseases worldwide.

Antonella Cardone, representing the European Cancer Patient Coalition, concluded the discussions by giving the perspective of patients suffering with mouth cancer and neck cancer within the framework of the new EU Commission priorities for health.

To find out more about the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe’s work across the continent, visit www.oralhealthplatform.eu/.