Nurses addressing Oral Health

17 Nov 2021
Christine Hancock

Nurses addressing Oral Health

Did you know: 

  • Over 5 billion people suffer from oral diseases. Untreated dental caries (tooth decay) in permanent teeth is the most common oral disease.
  • Severe periodontal (gum) disease affects almost 10% of the global population and over 530 million children suffer from dental caries of primary teeth.
  • Oral diseases disproportionally affect poor and socially-disadvantaged populations.
  • Most oral diseases have been linked with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs, also known as chronic diseases).

C3 Collaborating for Health was founded 12 years ago to address prevention in NCDs.  We have always talked about the main risk factors of smoking, lack of physical activity and what we eat and drink. These lifestyle factors drive the main illnesses and premature death in all corners of the world through heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer, and are the focus of C3’s work engaging all sectors of society.

Earlier this year WHO brought into sharp focus the need to address Oral Health and countries are urged to address those shared risk factors, and to shift their focus to the prevention of oral health disease and away from traditional curative approaches.


Nurses will have a crucial role to play! C3 has taken note and, with our strong track record in dialogue with nurses and expertise in NCD prevention, is leading the charge to raise awareness, knowledge and competency among nurses in the context of oral health and disease prevention.  Almost 40 years ago the WHO’s Director-General said:

If the millions of nurses in a thousand different places articulate the same ideas and convictions…and come together as one force, they could act as a powerhouse for change.

C3 plans to produce a series of recommendations and an action plan for how best to approach the association between oral health and NCDs. This work will lay the foundations for ongoing activity, and specifically the crucial role of nurses in oral health and the prevention of NCDs.  We have started to work with a Steering Group of nurse leaders from 12 countries Bahamas, Botswana, Canada, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Spain, USA and have presented to a global nursing audience at International Council of Nurses Congress 2021 (C3’s founder is former President of the International Council of Nurses).


This work is made possible with support from Colgate-Palmolive Company.