Message of the Chair
It is scientifically proven that the two most prevalent oral diseases in the world - dental caries and periodontal disease, can be prevented by means of individual and collective preventive strategies.
Therefore, the causes of these diseases should be acknowledged, and public health strategies should be specifically developed for a particular population, in order to achieve effectiveness.
The Portuguese population lacks knowledge of the patterns of exposure to these causes. Thus, it is important to study and identify them, so that the sparse resources available can be properly directed to effective oral public health projects.
Oral cancer is also a matter of concern within public health, due to its high incidence and to the short life expectancy of its victims, which indicates that this pathology's diagnosis has been done too late. It is necessary to plan strategies for promoting the prevention of this disease, and to study the efficacy of the recently implemented programme on Early Identification of Oral Cancer.
Recent changes in the dietary habits of the Portuguese, besides resulting in increased obesity levels, also caused the emergence of a dental pathology that previously had minor prevalence. This pathology is dental erosion, which can lead to the early destruction of the dental structure. Since its causes are already identified, it is urgent to study in detail the habits of the Portuguese population, in order to develop the best preventive programmes.
It should be emphasized that oral health correlates with general health. Various general pathologies may manifest themselves in the oral cavity, and oral diseases may also have important consequences on the manifestation of several pathologies.
This information can and should be passed on to the population, to health professionals, to researchers, and to policy makers, always with a scientific basis.
The work to be developed by this Department is vast and demanding. Thus, I face it as an extreme challenge that has to be managed with team spirit and spirit of mission. For our work to succeed, it is essential to have a selfless and cohesive team that interacts with our various partners.
I count on every one of them to help us achieve our goals.