Country work

WHO/Europe works closely with country offices to ensure the implementation of norms and strategies dealing with oral health. WHO/Europe recommends that countries take certain actions.

  • Reorient oral health services towards prevention and health promotion.
  • Advocate for universal coverage of primary oral health care, including essential and financially fair oral health care.
  • Promote school-based health promotion and oral disease prevention for children and adolescents.
  • Develop age-friendly primary oral health care for older people.
  • Promote effective use of fluoride for prevention of dental caries.
  • Reduce consumption of sugars, tobacco and excessive alcohol.
  • Promote healthy lifestyles and self-care.
  • Advocate for early detection of oral cancer and oral symptoms of HIV/AIDS.
  • Establish national oral health surveillance based on WHO systems for oral health surveys.

WHO/Europe has formulated specific oral health targets on dental caries among children to be achieved by 2020. Dental caries severity among children aged 12 years should be reduced to no more than 1.5 on average on the Decayed, Missing and Filled Teeth index (DMFT), and at least 80% of children aged 6 years should be free of dental caries. Some western European countries have reached these targets; however, countries of eastern Europe and central Asia have not. Several countries of eastern Europe and central Asia do not have updated data in this area.