Scoping Review of Upstream Interventions


A grant has been provided to UCL to undertake a ‘Scoping Review of Upstream Interventions to Promote Oral Health and Reduce Oral Health Inequalities’.

Over the last 10-15 years various effectiveness reviews of the oral health literature have identified the limitations of solely adopting individual/clinical preventive (downstream) interventions in addressing the global burden of oral diseases and in reducing the stark oral health inequalities that persist across the world[1].  Health education interventions traditionally used to promote oral health may not be appropriate for reducing oral health inequalities and indeed may in fact widen inequalities, rather than reduce them[2] A broad consensus now exists that there is a need for a complementary combination of downstream, midstream, and upstream interventions to be implemented to effectively prevent oral diseases and promote greater oral health equity.

This scoping review will address this knowledge gap by identifying, reviewing, and summarising the available global evidence of the effect of upstream policy interventions on oral health and oral health inequalities. The review findings will inform future policy development.  The proposed work will be linked to the on-going Lancet Commission on Oral Health which includes an oral health inequalities workstream and the findings will be highlighted in the forthcoming Lancet Commission report.

[1] (Kay and Locker 1996; Watt and Marinho 2005; Harris et al 2012).

[2] (NICE 2007; Schou and Wight 1994; Qadri et al., 2018).