Universal health coverage (UHC) is broadly defined as all individuals having access to needed health services without financial hardship.1 Over the last decade, the push for UHC has gained considerable momentum, having become a priority area in reaching the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030. Initial evaluations indicate progress in important areas such as coverage of human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis and malaria services.1 Oral health, by contrast, has been largely absent from the UHC discussion, and limited progress has been made in addressing oral diseases around the world over the last twenty years.2

In many countries, oral health is deemed low priority and attributed to individual, rather than social responsibility. However, a few countries working towards UHC include dental services for some or all population groups, suggesting that the exclusion of oral health from UHC is no conceptual inevitability. Failing to broaden UHC to encompass oral health risks undermining systemic health outcomes and exacerbating health disparities. As countries plan and align strategies towards UHC, reviewing whether excluding oral health is compatible with the overall goals of UHC is necessary…..more