EHS-COVID (368) COVID-19 and oral health services

1 June, 2021

Citation, extracts and a comment from me below.

CITATION: Stefan Listl et al. Including oral diseases and conditions in universal health coverage

Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2021;99:407. doi:


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has increased the amount of government support required to meet people’s basic needs, including oral health and oral health care. Efforts towards universal health coverage (UHC) are only starting to include oral health and oral health care... Globally, oral diseases and conditions (dental caries, periodontal diseases, tooth loss and oral and pharyngeal cancers) represent some of the most preventable disease burdens; they also disproportionally affect poorer and marginalized groups. Untreated caries, severe periodontitis and tooth loss are among the 10 most prevalent conditions, globally affecting more than 3.5 billion people in 2017...

In their early stages, oral diseases and conditions are largely preventable and/or treatable with appropriate measures such as the use of fluorides; and reduction of sugar, tobacco and alcohol consumption...


Comment (NPW): What has been the impact of COVID-19 on oral health and provision of dental health services? How has this impacted (or will impact) on people's health?

A paper from South Africa notes 'There are no guidelines for South African dental practitioners to follow in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper provides consolidated evidence and best practice on how to prevent and minimise the spread of infection within the dental setting through the use of a flowchart.'

What guidance is available to guide provision of services by dental practitioners in low-resource settings?

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,