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American Dental Association Pleased With UNEP Treaty Outcomes

The ADA appreciates the willingness of the U.S. delegation from the State department, Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to consider and be guided by the best available scientific information pertaining to dental amalgam.

The FDI World Dental Federation, comprised of more than 200 national dental associations including the ADA and dental specialties, and the International Association for Dental Research have long supported a phase down approach to the use of dental amalgam to be accomplished by focusing on preventive strategies to reduce the disease that causes tooth decay.

In addition the organizations support other measures called for in the treaty such as increased research, development of alternatives to dental amalgam and best management practices that involve capturing and recycling amalgam waste.

The ADA is particularly pleased that the treaty calls for setting national objectives aimed at dental caries prevention and health promotion.

Much is at stake when it comes to the world's oral health. Oral conditions such as caries (cavities), periodontal (gum) disease, dental infections and other oral conditions share common risk factors (unhealthy diet, alcohol and tobacco use) with four chronic diseases recognized by the United Nations as non-communicable diseases: cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory and diabetes.

Some oral conditions and infections can increase the risk for all four of these non-communicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization, 36.1 million people worldwide died from conditions such as heart disease, strokes, chronic lung diseases, cancers and diabetes in 2008.

By phasing up global preventive strategies, we can tremendously improve oral health outcomes and by extension overall health outcomes. Countries must make concerted efforts to raise awareness and empower healthier behaviors. Virtually all dental disease can be prevented through simple measures such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet, and not using any tobacco products. Professional dental visits are also critically important to monitor, diagnose and treat oral conditions so people can enjoy a lifetime of good oral health.

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