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Advocacy for a Digital Oral Health That Leaves No One Behind

Alexandria, Va., USA — The health, social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have already had a dramatic impact on the prevailing oral health care model and will continue to do so. The paper “Advocacy for a Digital Oral Health That Leaves No One Behind,” published in the JDR Clinical & Translational Research (JDR CTR), promotes the use of digital tools to offer opportunities to improve healthy behavior, lower risk factors common to oral diseases and other noncommunicable diseases and contribute to reducing oral health inequalities.

To mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, systems were quickly put in place in most countries to respond to dental emergencies, giving priority to distance screening, advice to patients by remote means and treatment of urgent cases while ensuring continuous care. Digital health was widely adopted as a central component of this new approach, leading to new practices and tools that, in turn, demonstrated their potential, limitations and possible excesses.

Authors Nicolas Giraudeau, University of Montpellier, France, and Benoit Varenne, World Health Organization (WHO), Oral Health Programme, Geneva, Switzerland, believe that digital tools can accelerate the implementation of universal health coverage and help achieve the World Health Organization 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, leaving no one behind. TheWHO mOralHealth program is structured in four modules (literacy, training, early detection, and surveillance). “Digital oral health should be one of the pillars of oral healthcare post-COVID-19. Universal access to digital oral health should be promoted globally. The WHO’s mOralHealth programme aims to do that.” 

“The use of digital health has led to a new way of understanding both general and oral health,” said JDR CTR Editor-in-Chief Jocelyne S. Feine, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada. “This paper calls for political leaders to be made aware of the universal availability of digital technology and make use of it as a safe and equitable means of delivering oral health care to the public.”

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About the JDR Clinical and Translational Research
The JDR Clinical & Translational Research is a quarterly publication. This peer-reviewed journal is dedicated to publishing original dental, oral and craniofacial research at the interface between discovery science and clinical application with the translation of research into healthcare delivery systems at the individual patient, clinical practice and community levels. The JDR CTR has been accepted for inclusion in MEDLINE. Follow the JDR CTR on Twitter @JDRClinTransRes.

International Association for Dental Research

The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 10,000 individual members worldwide, with a mission to drive dental, oral and craniofacial research for health and well-being worldwide. To learn more, visit www.iadr.org. The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is the largest Division of IADR with 3,100 members in the United States. To learn more, visit www.iadr.org/aadr.

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