World Oral Health Day - 20 March 2024

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Brussels, Belgium – In the framework of World Oral Health Day on the 20th of March, the Interception of Oral Cancer Development (INTERCEPTOR) COST Action, is emphasising on the care of oral cavities beyond the traditional focus on dental care.


Oral health goes beyond having a bright smile. It is also crucial to focus on the health of the oral mucosa. It encompasses the mouth, teeth, and orofacial structures crucial for essential functions like eating, breathing, and speaking.

According to the World Health Organization, oral diseases, affects approximately 3.5 billion people globally. While the global burden of oral health conditions is increasing, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, the demand for oral health services is projected to rise due to population growth and the aging population. Vulnerable and disadvantaged populations are disproportionately affected by oral diseases. Among oral diseases, Oral potentially malignant disorders (OPMDs) are a group of oral lesions that have the potential to transform into oral cancer. Cessation of tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, and areca nut use can contribute to significant reductions in the risk of OPMD and oral cancer development. Clinical oral examination is the only screening method that is routinely used for the detection of oral cancer and OPMD. Early signs such as white or red patches may, although not necessarily, evolve into oral cancer and necessitate examination by healthcare professionals.

In an effort to break away from the conventional narrative surrounding oral health, the Interception of oral cancer development (INTERCEPTOR) COST Action is emphasising the significance of oral mucosa alongside dental care as our priority for World Oral Health Day 2024.

We urge individuals, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to think beyond teeth when it comes to oral health. The implementation of surveillance and cessation policies for individuals at high-risk (i.e., users of tobacco, alcohol, areca nut products, or all three) need to be strengthened globally and may reduce mortality from oral cancer.

By recognising the significance of the oral mucosa and embracing a holistic approach to oral care, we can collectively contribute not only to better overall health and well-being but, most of all, prevent oral cancer.


Oral Health is not just only about teeth! The oral mucosa needs some care and attention too!


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Project information

INTERCEPTOR aims to address the challenge of generating innovative and actionable pathways by engaging with the ‘critical practice’ dimensions of transformation.

A ‘critical practice’ approach explores transformation processes in practice across different dimensions which include research, policy, business, community and individual practices.

Action Contacts

Prof. Pierre Saintigny
Action Chair
+33(0)4 69 85 60 97

Prof. Senada Koljenovic
Action Vice Chair

COST Contacts

Dr Rosella Magli
Science Officer

Ms Carmencita Malimban
Administrative Officer


COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a funding agency for research and innovation networks. Our Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and enable scientists to grow their ideas by sharing them with their peers. This boosts their research, career and innovation.