Research Topic

Dentistry and Oral Health in Africa

About this Research Topic

Africa is the second largest continent with 54 countries and 1.3 billion inhabitants representing 14% of the world’s population. The great majority of African countries are low- and lower-middle income countries facing economic, developmental, social, educational, environmental, health and healthcare challenges in addition to civil and political unrest. Amid these challenges, oral health of populations, dentistry as a profession, and dental education may receive minimal attention. Although some African countries are establishing nationally operated health surveillance systems tracking communicable diseases and immunizations, oral and dental indicators are unlikely to be included in these systems with resulting data scarcity. African researchers represent a small number of all researchers specialized in dental research. Also, studies conducted in Africa or among African populations constitute a small portion of the global oral health research output. Little evidence is available on risk factors, protective behaviors, disease conditions, health care systems, and education in the field of dentistry and oral health in Africa. Without evidence, it is difficult to plan or monitor progress towards achieving development goals.

In May 2021, the Seventy-Fourth World Health Assembly issued a resolution on oral health and its relationship with the sustainable development goals which are of great relevance to Africa.

This Research Topic aims to shed light on this issue in the African setting to guide policy setting and corrective action.

This Research Topic welcomes research articles about oral health and dentistry in Africa including, but not limited to, the following within African countries:

• Epidemiological profile of oral diseases and conditions.
• Distribution of risk factors and protective behaviors against oral diseases.
• The intersections between oral health and the sustainable development goals.
• Oral diseases and conditions specific to or with high prevalence in Africa such as Noma and facial scarifications.
• Dental workforce composition and mobility issues among, to, and from African countries and efficient dental workforce models.
• Structure and financing of dental care services in African countries with implications for universal health coverage.
• Oral health surveillance systems, monitoring of oral diseases and availability of data.
• Dental education, dental education programs, and dental education institutions.
• Dental research and collaboration among African researchers and countries.
• The impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of dental services and oral health.
• The economic cost of oral diseases, impact of oral diseases on productivity and assessment of cost-effective interventions.
• The interaction between oral diseases and other non-communicable diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, mental disorders and others.
• Diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic modalities suitable to the African setting.
• The impact of dental practice on the environment in Africa in relation to the Minamata convention treaty, green dentistry, use of chemicals in traditional radiography and the use of disposable items in the time of COVID-19.
• Inequalities in oral diseases and exposure to oral health risk factors within and among African countries.
• The role of fluoride, minimally invasive interventions and traditional medicine in addressing oral health problems.


Keywords: Africa, oral health, dentistry, dental education, dental care, dental research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Africa is the second largest continent with 54 countries and 1.3 billion inhabitants representing 14% of the world’s population. The great majority of African countries are low- and lower-middle income countries facing economic, developmental, social, educational, environmental, health and healthcare challenges in addition to civil and political unrest. Amid these challenges, oral health of populations, dentistry as a profession, and dental education may receive minimal attention. Although some African countries are establishing nationally operated health surveillance systems tracking communicable diseases and immunizations, oral and dental indicators are unlikely to be included in these systems with resulting data scarcity. African researchers represent a small number of all researchers specialized in dental research. Also, studies conducted in Africa or among African populations constitute a small portion of the global oral health research output. Little evidence is available on risk factors, protective behaviors, disease conditions, health care systems, and education in the field of dentistry and oral health in Africa. Without evidence, it is difficult to plan or monitor progress towards achieving development goals.

In May 2021, the Seventy-Fourth World Health Assembly issued a resolution on oral health and its relationship with the sustainable development goals which are of great relevance to Africa.

This Research Topic aims to shed light on this issue in the African setting to guide policy setting and corrective action.

This Research Topic welcomes research articles about oral health and dentistry in Africa including, but not limited to, the following within African countries:

• Epidemiological profile of oral diseases and conditions.
• Distribution of risk factors and protective behaviors against oral diseases.
• The intersections between oral health and the sustainable development goals.
• Oral diseases and conditions specific to or with high prevalence in Africa such as Noma and facial scarifications.
• Dental workforce composition and mobility issues among, to, and from African countries and efficient dental workforce models.
• Structure and financing of dental care services in African countries with implications for universal health coverage.
• Oral health surveillance systems, monitoring of oral diseases and availability of data.
• Dental education, dental education programs, and dental education institutions.
• Dental research and collaboration among African researchers and countries.
• The impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of dental services and oral health.
• The economic cost of oral diseases, impact of oral diseases on productivity and assessment of cost-effective interventions.
• The interaction between oral diseases and other non-communicable diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, mental disorders and others.
• Diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic modalities suitable to the African setting.
• The impact of dental practice on the environment in Africa in relation to the Minamata convention treaty, green dentistry, use of chemicals in traditional radiography and the use of disposable items in the time of COVID-19.
• Inequalities in oral diseases and exposure to oral health risk factors within and among African countries.
• The role of fluoride, minimally invasive interventions and traditional medicine in addressing oral health problems.


Keywords: Africa, oral health, dentistry, dental education, dental care, dental research


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
31 July 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 January 2022 Abstract
31 July 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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