Radical Reform Needed to Address Dental Decay Worldwide

Cristin Kearns

Cristin Kearns, DDS, MBA, commentary corresponding author and studies co-author

Oral diseases, such as tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancers, are a major health burden affecting 3.5 billion people worldwide, but are largely ignored by the global health community, according to a series on oral health in The Lancet that publishes July 20, 2019.

In a commentary accompanying the series, Cristin Kearns, DDS, MBA, of UCSF, and Lisa Bero, PhD, of the University of Sydney, express growing concern that the dental profession will not make meaningful progress in combating the oral health epidemic until it addresses the sugar industry’s influence on dental research and professional bodies.

“Dental research organizations have only recently woken up to the fact that their research activities haven’t focused on sugars for many years, and very few people realize that these organizations have financial relationships with global candy, ice cream, sugary beverage and snack companies,” said Kearns, an assistant professor in the UCSF School of Dentistry and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “While these relationships may be slightly less shocking when one considers these companies also sell oral health products, we can’t lose sight of the fact that in many cases, these are the same companies that are opposing sugar reduction policies, such as sugary beverage taxes.”

>>Read the complete story on UCSF.edu

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