Public Health

A World of Access

To Ian Cook, the CEO of Colgate-Palmolive, the forces behind the sweeping transformation in oral health can be summed up in one word: access—to information, knowledge-sharing, and customized, on-demand treatments.

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October 19, 2016

A look at the most innovative and impactful developments in science, technology and medicine of the past 20 years reveals an important common thread: access. Greater access in areas like information, knowledge-sharing and e-health technologies—often customized and delivered on-demand—is a hallmark of the sweeping change we see around the world. In the medical and dental fields, much of this change is being driven by empowered patients in developed markets seeking flexible, digital healthcare. But the effects of these changes will be farther reaching and may very well revolutionize the practice of dentistry.

This special issue explores science, policy and new delivery models to better understand the current and future state of the multifaceted oral health field. Within this issue are updates on:

  • Oral health of a growing elderly population; global health issues of caries and periodontal diseases and latest industry developments helping to improve access and cost-of-care in these areas
  • The state of the science linking oral health and other areas in medicine and changes in the relationships between the dental and medical communities as they slowly de-silo and integrate to deliver better care and greater access for patients
  • New tools being employed in diagnostics, biotechnology, and digital health that are advancing care, along with a special look at how dentistry and oral health will be managed in the future
  • Philosophies and technologies that have fueled industry changes and ways in which global demographics are mandating more accommodating, on-demand approaches to dentistry that reduce cost and bring care to hard-to-reach populations

The burden of oral disease is felt most by the world’s underserved populations (including those in poverty in the U.S.) who suffer from limited access to dental care, lack of clean water and limited education. Historically, the resources of industry, the profession and the public health sector have focused primarily on addressing oral disease through treatments and restorations, rather than targeting the elimination of the disease. And in many countries around the world where there is persistent scarcity of dental resources, public health education efforts must be supplemented with bold and innovative interventions.

As a world leader in oral care technology development, Colgate-Palmolive has long been committed to improving the oral health of people across the globe with products that meet a wide range of ever-changing consumer needs. This mission is driven by a relentless pursuit of scientific investigation. However, addressing the changing oral health care needs and emerging challenges facing billions of people worldwide today requires expertise and collaboration—from industry, educators, health care professionals and governments. Only by working collaboratively and globally can we find breakthrough solutions, and continue expanding access to reach the people who need it most.

Ian Cook
Ian Cook has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Colgate since July 2007 and Chairman of the Board since January 2009. Mr. Cook began his career at Colgate in 1976 and progressed through a series of senior marketing and management roles around the world. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2004, with responsibility for operations in North America, Europe, Central Europe, Asia and Africa, and, in 2005, he was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer, responsible for all Colgate operations worldwide.