UN High-level Meeting on NCDs: Oral Health Side Event 2018

Tooth Decay is the most common preventable disease

NYU Oral Health NCD Side Event Agenda (PDF)

The purpose of the September 2018 United Nations General Assembly 3rd High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) is to undertake a comprehensive review of the global and national progress to prevent and reduce early morbidity and mortality from heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.

During the first High-level Summit on NCDs convened in New York in 2011, New York
University (NYU) hosted a side-event on oral health, co-sponsored by the governments of Tanzania, Sweden and Australia. The event was attended by about 150 delegates of member states, NYU officials and other stakeholders such as the FDI World Dental Federation and the International Association for Dental Research.

Since then, the international discourse and action around prevention and control of NCDs has advanced, though not at the required pace to meet the ambitious targets outlined in the Political Declaration on NCDs (2011) and the WHO Global Action Plan on NCDs (2013). Both documents recognize oral diseases, albeit briefly and without much detail.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Studies have confirmed that untreated tooth decay is the most common disease of mankind and three oral diseases rank among the ten most frequent health conditions worldwide. More than 3.5 billion people suffer from oral diseases and related psychological, social and/or economic consequences.

NYU College of Dentistry
Department of Epidemiology & Health Promotion

WHO Collaborating Center

The NYU College of Dentistry is the only World Health Organization Collaborating Center on oral health in the Americas, aiming to foster policy dialogue and the translation of evidence into practice. In continuation of previous engagement in the global NCD context, the College is organizing a side event on oral health on the occasion of the 3rd UN High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

The objectives of the side event are to:

  1. Provide a snapshot of the burden and impact of oral diseases and challenges related;
  2. Highlight evidence and pathways towards prevention of oral diseases integrated with NCDs and aligned with SDGs, including innovative country experiences and "best buy" interventions; 
  3. Present key aspects of an investment case for oral health, emphasizing the need to focus on simple preventive interventions in order to address the disease burden in LMIC; and
  4. To garner support and momentum towards integration of oral health in all policies and health systems by providing arguments and evidence for advocacy, policy and action. Selected aspects may be illustrated by examples from co-sponsoring member states (TBC).

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Oral Diseases and NCDS

Untreated tooth decay (dental caries, cavities) is the most common global NCD. It shares risk factors with all other NCDs and is a marker for inequality.

Cost-effective preventive interventions at the policy, health system, community and personal levels are available. Yet, these preventive interventions ("best buys") are not applied at a large scale and are not universally available.

The side-event, attended by high-level country delegations, key stakeholders, experts and advocates will explore:

  • Barriers to oral health equity and integration with NCDs
  • The business case for global oral health
  • Synergies of improving oral health equity for other NCDs.