The ADVOCATE [Added Value for Oral Care] Conference on 25th and 26th March 2019 brought European researchers, policy-makers and dentists to UCC to discuss best practises to enhance disease prevention in dentistry and increase quality of life. MEP Deirdre Clune launched the project findings with UCC President Patrick O’Shea and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly.
Dental decay and gum disease are amongst the most common diseases globally, but could be prevented. Professor Helen Whelton initiated the ADVOCATE research project with 11 partners from prestigious universities, health insurers, and other public and private sector institutions across eight European countries in 2015 to analyse best practices and optimise delivery of oral health and wellbeing in the EU. ADVOCATE uses multiple approaches for improvement of oral health care delivery, including methods to motivate a greater focus on disease prevention in dental practice. ADVOCATE looked at system changes which might incentivise prevention (extrinsic motivation) and the use of feedback mechanisms and quality improvement groups (intrinsic motivation) to help dentists shift towards more preventive practice. The lessons learned are also applicable to general health promotion. The project additionally highlights the potential for politicians and policy makers to provide the right incentives, mechanism and environments to support prevention.
The Conference closed with guest speakers Professor Nigel Pitts, Global Chair for the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future and Professor David Williams, Vice Chair World Dental Federation, emphasising further opportunities of collaboration to promote oral health prevention globally.