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In this interview we talk to Dr. Soha Dattani, a Periodontist and Director Scientific Engagement, Oral Care EMEA for Kenvue, which only last month became a self-standing company de-merged from Johnson and Johnson. Kenvue is the EFP’s latest partner.
Dr. Dattani is adamant that “everybody deserves good oral health”. However, despite being largely preventable, oral diseases regrettably remain among the most common non-communicable diseases worldwide and have been recognized by the WHO as presenting a major public health problem. Untreated tooth decay (caries) still affects more than a third of the entire world’s population, regardless of age or geography.
The recent EFP Economist Impact study also confirms prevalence of gum disease in Western Europe has remained worryingly stable over the last 25-years. “The dental plaque biofilm is a key risk factor in both, which we know above the gumline, i.e., supragingivally, can be effectively managed through efficient, consistent, daily oral selfcare,” says Dr. Dattani. However when these diseases are not controlled, they are the main causes of tooth loss and that can lead to nutritional compromise, negative impact on self-esteem and quality of life. “At Kenvue, we believe effective daily care routines and small moments of care have a profound cumulative impact on your well-being. This is the extraordinary power of everyday care! If we are to step change oral health, significant focus on insight-based everyday care and prevention rather than intervention will be key.”
In other words the obvious message is that prevention is better than cure! This is not a new idea as Dr. Dattani explains, “We would not consider bleeding, or a hole in any other part of the body, as normal or acceptable. Your doctor does not wait until you have had a heart attack to manage your cholesterol, they educate patients around lifestyle changes to help prevent life-threatening consequences.” In referring to the EFPs econometric data, she notes that efforts have been skewed towards treating periodontitis, yet the data confirms a paradigm shift is needed – at a government, healthcare professional and public level – towards maintaining oral health. “Take gingivitis,” she continues. “We must stop thinking of it as trivial and focus education and health system efforts upfront to eliminate gingivitis, thus preventing progression to periodontitis. Data confirms this would save considerable treatment costs over a 10-year period compared with business as usual and importantly pain, suffering and other complications”.
So it’s great for the person, but also for the pocket! Historically mechanical oral care alone has been considered sufficient, but it isn’t always enough. Dr. Dattani believes that we need to be evidence-based in our approach to behaviours and everyday oral care.
There is evidence that oral self-care practices globally are not optimally efficient or consistent, nor pertinent to the globally ageing population, where dexterity may severely compromise effective mechanical cleaning.In the US for example, the average brushing time is just 46 seconds, compared to the standard recommended two minutes and in the UK only 31% people claim to ever clean between their teeth despite professional guidance that it is necessary to protect their oral health.The EFP’s own published evidence clearly confirms that, as an adjunct to everyday mechanical cleaning, antibacterial mouthwashes with essential oils offer significant advantages in terms of prevention of gingival inflammation and controlling plaque levels. Dr. Dattani believes this is vital, as maintenance of oral health will not only help improve total health outcomes but empower people to take an active role in the management of their own health, as she says, “efficacious everyday care will act as a first line of defence to help people get and stay well.”
Realising the power of everyday care is the core purpose for Kenvue and its brands. Dr. Dattani also shares how they are united as a company to innovate, educate and partner with organisations such as EFP to ensure that together they can solve selfcare needs that are science-backed, care-forward, everyday experiences endorsed by healthcare professionals. Or in her words, “We aim to provide practical solutions that really help empower people to be more effective with their daily oral care rituals, to live healthier lives every day.”