A number of policymakers, health professionals, academics and representatives of healthcare organisations have gathered at the Council of European Dentists (CED) event to discuss oral health inequalities.
The event, ‘Health Inequalities – Oral Health For All’, was hosted by MEP Nessa Childers yesterday (19 June) and it gave the healthcare professionals an opportunity to look into the “complex topic” of oral health inequalities.
Dental expenditures cost the EU a total of €92bn back in 2015. In comparison to other diseases, dental diseases are third in the cost ranking of diseases when it comes to private and public expenditure. This was only surpassed by cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Who is affected by access to oral healthcare?
Childers, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, stated that “access to oral healthcare services is a significant issue among vulnerable and low-income groups, especially when it comes to prevention; very often, individuals from vulnerable groups only access oral healthcare due to emergencies.”
The report stresses the importance of vulnerable populations receiving adequate support in accessing care. Participants in the event have heard about great initiatives in the Netherlands and in Spain that provide vulnerable populations, including homeless persons, children from disadvantaged backgrounds and migrants, with proper oral care.
Stakeholders working together
President of CED Marco Landi concluded that “it is evident that oral health inequalities is a very complex topic that needs to be tackled by a multifaceted approach and by a variety of stakeholders together”.
The CED hopes that all of the stakeholders will work together that little bit more closely in the future to tackle the inequalities people face and ultimately help provide the best care for all.
About the CED
The Council of European Dentists is a non-profit organisation which represents over 340,000 dentists across Europe.
It was established in 1961 and now has 32 national dental associations from 30 European countries.