Role of the Dental Health Foundation

Statement of Strategy

The Dental Health Foundation has, since its establishment, been at the forefront of oral health promotion in Ireland. Its Strategic Plan 2015-2017 sets out ambitious, but achievable goals and a practical integrated programme of work for effective oral health promotion. In pursuing these goals, the Foundation will continue to work closely with State bodies, the oral healthcare profession, consumer groups, the oral healthcare industry, the community and education sectors.

The Foundation is awaiting the new National Oral Health Policy in advance of developing its Statement of Strategy 2019 – 2023. Work remains ongoing in line with the organisation’s most recent Strategy 2015-2017.

Structure of the Dental Health Foundation

The Dental Health Foundation (DHF) emerged from within organised dentistry in 1977 to form an independent body and received fund from the Department of Health and Children. More recently it receives funding for SLA work from both the HSE and Department of Health.

The Foundation is a charitable trust (Charity Number: CHY 6200, Charity Registration Number: 20010683) governed by a Board of Trustees drawn from members of the dental and other relevant professions. In 2007 an Advisory Panel was put in place to provide advice and guidance on existing and proposed work programmes. The DHF has three full-time staff an Chief Executive, a Public Affairs and Communications Manager and an Administrator.

Strategic Objectives

The Foundation has five strategic objectives.

  1. Promoting Excellence in Oral Health and General Health
  2. Empowering People
  3. Advocacy
  4. Communications
  5. Supporting the Department of Health

The goal of the Foundation is to promote oral health and to highlight the overall health benefits that can be achieved through improvement in an individual's oral health. Progress towards the achievement of this goal through its strategic objectives is monitored at regular intervals throughout the year by the DHF management team and a report on progress is then made to the Board.

In pursing these goals the Foundation works on a partnership basis with State bodies, the oral healthcare profession, consumer groups, the oral healthcare industry, the community and education sectors. The Foundation's key stakeholders are the Department of Health, the HSE, the Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health, the Board of Trustees, the Foundation's Advisory Panel, its managers and employees, the health and education and social care professions and relevant agencies and the general public.

The Dental Health Foundation is committed to empowering individuals to improve their health and wellbeing through the ongoing development of oral health promotion messages. These messages identify the causes of oral ill health and how to prevent or control them, including appropriate use of fluoride toothpaste and effective oral health practices.

A key focus is raising the public's awareness of the impact of lifestyle behaviours, the links between oral and general health and the common risk factors associated with poor dietary choices. This includes excess sugar consumption and snacking, use of tobacco products, excessive alcohol use, poor hygiene, injury risk and trauma, stress and control, and socio-economic factors.

The Foundation advocates for supportive environments for oral health by providing reliable, quality and easily accessible data, working with stakeholders on targeted projects and ensuring excellent and effective communication and collaboration between relevant partners and stakeholders.