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The Oral Health Atlas

FDI World Dental Federation

Oral health is one of the most neglected areas of global health, yet 90% of people have had dental problems or toothache caused by caries and severe periodontitis affects up to 15%. Oral cancer is the eighth most common cancer worldwide, and the most common in men in South East Asia.

In the Philippines, as many as 97% of six-year-olds have dental caries. The related pain and sepsis affect a child’s ability to eat, sleep, concentrate resulting in a host of problems from school absenteeism to malnutrition.

Access to oral care is a major problem: Germany and the UK have one dentist per 1,000 population, low-income and middle-income countries have one dentist per 50,000 people, but in some sub-Saharan African countries the ratio is only one per 900,000 people.

"Many busy dental policy makers and lay people often need information on oral health and this is were they should go to for easily accessible, reliable information on a wide range of subjects ranging from basic information on, for example, the eruption dates of teeth to the social and economic determinants of oral health and prevention and dental treatment...Unlike most books on oral health, the atlas places great emphasis on the ‘causes of the causes’ of dental diseases...So three cheers for the authors of The Oral Health Atlas for placing the correct emphasis on what dentists should be addressing to improve oral health and deal with this neglected global health issue.

An impressive aspect of the Atlas is that it ranges from such upstream concepts to very basic evidence based advice for lay people on improving and protecting their oral health. I am sure that many magazines will copy their beautifully illustrated pages on the subject. Indeed, the quality of production of the atlas is admirable. This is an excellent resource that should be widely used." – Emeritus Professor Aubrey Sheiham, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London

"The Atlas is terrific – unique and so very impressive. I don't know of another oral heath-related publication that could have near the impact that this surely must be having upon everyone who opens it. It is comprehensive, but also has each subject so attractively displayed that its message should be easily recalled for later uses." – Dr Robert Mecklenburg

See co-author Dr Habib Benzian interviewed about 'Mapping Oral Health Worldwide' in Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry

Dr Roby Beaglehole

is a public health consultant and clinical dentist based in New Zealand. Previously a consultant to the UK Department of Health and political advisor to the New Zealand Government, he is co-author of Tobacco or Health, as well as several other publications.

Dr Habib Benzian

is Associate Director for Development and Public Health at the FDI World Dental Federation. A lecturer in public health at several European universities, including the Universities of London and Nijmegen, he organized the first-ever ministerial meeting on oral health in Africa.

Jon Crail

is the Manager, Public Health and Advocacy Projects at the FDI World Dental Federation and founding director of Digital Roots, an NGO that empowers communities to investigate, document, and share their culture and history through the use of digital technologies to create physical and virtual museums.

Dr Judith Mackay

is a medical doctor based in Hong Kong. A senior policy advisor to the World Health Organization and project co-ordinator of the World Lung Foundation, she was awarded an OBE in 2008. Her other atlases include The Cancer Atlas, The Tobacco Atlas, The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke and the first edition of The State of Health Atlas.

Co-author Dr Judith Mackay at the Regional Committee Meeting of the Western Pacific Region of WHO presents a copy to China's Minister of Health, Professor Chen Zhu.

Co-authors Dr Judith Mackay and Dr Habib Benzian present Hong Kong's Secretary for Food and Health, Mr Ko Wing-man (top) and China's Minister of Health, Mr Chen Zhu (directly above) with the Oral Health Atlas at the 100th Annual World Dental Congress, held in Hong Kong in August 2012.