Joint Press Release | 24 March 2022

In celebration of the National Oral Health Month last February, the Department of Health (DOH), together with the University of the Philippines College of Public Health (UP-CPH), Philippine Dental Association (PDA), and Johnson & Johnson (Philippines), Inc. (J&J Philippines), conducted a forum entitled “Sama-sama, Tulong-tulong para sa Orally Fit Pinoy” to educate the public about the value of maintaining good oral health while preventing diseases linked to it, including COVID-19 infection.

“We emphasize the significance of oral and dental care during the month of February, but we wish it is given the same attention all year round, as it is really one of the most overlooked aspects of overall health,” said the dean and center director of UP-CPH, Dr. Vicente Belizario Jr.

Oral health is a fundamental factor in overall health and well-being since the oral cavity acts as the main passageway of food, water, and air, making it a powerhouse that has millions of microorganisms essentially improving one’s quality of life.

“Oral health can be considered as the first line of defense to reduce the burden of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, lung disease, and low birth weight among others. Thus, its importance is emphasized in both the Universal Health Care Act and a World Health Assembly Resolution last May 2021,” shared Director of DOH’s Health Promotion Bureau and Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho.

The Universal Health Care Act reaffirms that oral health is part of the entitlement of every Filipino and ensures that each person is guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health care goods and services while being protected against financial risk. Meanwhile, WHA No. 74 or the resolution EB148.R1 urges member states to address key risk factors of oral diseases shared with other non-communicable diseases to enhance the capabilities of oral health professionals and ecommend a shift from the traditional curative approach to a preventive approach using the primary healthcare system.

“Creating programs that will generate greater public awareness on oral health is easy. The bigger challenge is on integrated service delivery during the implementation of these programs. However, this will not hinder us and our partner organizations in continuously innovating our programs and approach in promoting the importance of oral health,” underscored PDA President Dr. Jose Militante.

J&J Philippines has been at the forefront of inter-sectoral collaboration, working alongside government agencies and other stakeholders to promote oral health as primary care. Following a successful collaboration last year, the company continues to partner with DOH, UP-CPH, and PDA in making every Filipino an Orally Fit Pinoy.

“Our involvement began with the company’s COVID-19 advocacy which also focused on educating the public on how they can improve their personal well-being through better oral health. Together with DOH and our other partners, we are making oral health a priority for every Filipino family,” expressed J&J Philippines, Inc. Head of Medical Affairs, Dr. Erwin Benedicto.