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New study reveals oral health’s growing price tag for Europe


07 Sep 2012


Public Affairs

BRUSSELS, 5 September 2012 – Treatment costs for oral and dental conditions across Europe often exceed those of other major diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, and dementia, according to a pan-European study released today. The State of Oral Health in Europe Report estimates current spending in dental treatment in the EU 27 to be close to 79 billion per year, a figure set to reach 93 billion by the year 2020 if adequate action is not taken now. The report reveals that oral health-related costs are still on the rise despite the fact that caries and their complications are highly preventable through a healthy, balanced diet and routine oral hygiene practices.


The study was commissioned by the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, a forum that brings together European organisations that work towards the promotion of oral health and the prevention of oral diseases in Europe. The report analysed data from 12 European countries (Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom). 

The report shows that – despite significant achievements in the prevention of cavities in Europe – much remains to be done in areas such as: promoting oral health awareness, tackling oral health inequalities and addressing common risk factors. Further indispensable tools in the fight for better oral health in Europe include the development of high quality, comparable oral health data and better cost-effectiveness studies to assess the impact of prevention initiatives.


On the basis of the report findings, the Platform has developed a series of recommendations and calls on policymakers to:

·         Commit to improving oral health and preventing oral diseases by 2020 across Europe and within individual Member States;

·         Address increasing oral health inequalities;

·         Develop Europe’s dental workforce;

·         Bridge the research gap in oral health promotion;

·         Improve the data, the knowledge base and mechanisms for measuring, monitoring evaluation and reporting;

·         Develop more prominent oral health initiatives and policies at a national and European level;

·         Define best practice principles in prevention and oral health promotion.


Presenting the results of the study at the first European Oral Health Summit, held today at the European Parliament in Brussels, Member of the European Parliament Ms. Karin Kadenbach said, “In a time of austerity measures and growing pressure on healthcare budgets, this report is a timely reminder that we have to tackle the persisting disparities in oral health across and within EU countries, with regards to socioeconomic status, age, gender, or indeed general health status.”

Speaking at the Summit, Professor Kenneth Eaton, Chairman of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, called for more policy attention and action on the topic of oral health. “At the EU level, there is currently a lack of understanding about the integral role oral health plays in overall health and well-being,” he said. “On behalf of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, I hope and believe we finally have the adequate tools and procedures in place to work effectively together and foster policy decisions which will benefit the oral health of everyone in Europe in the years to come.”

An Executive Summary of the report can be found here.

The full report is accessible here.

About the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe


The Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe is a joint initiative of the European Association of Dental Public Health (EADPH), the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE), the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and the Council of European Chief Dental Officers. The Platform has been created to respond to the call to action handed over by Members of the European Parliament to Health Commissioner Dalli in 2010. The Platform promotes a common European approach towards education, prevention and access to better oral health in Europe. The activities of the Platform are supported by the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.


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About the report


The study was authored by Dr Reena Patel, Dental Advisor, who examined some the key issues relating to oral health. These include:

·         Prevalence and trends of oral diseases in Europe

·         Assessment of economic impact of oral diseases in Europe;

·         Identification of best practice initiatives in oral health promotion across Europe;

·         Development of a set of key recommendations for decision-makers to improve oral health in Europe. 

The report analyzed data from Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.  Commissioned by the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, the report is available on the Platform’s website: The report was supported by an unrestricted grant from the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.





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