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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 258-259

Curbing oral disease burden in India: Recommendations for integrating dentistry into public Health


Department of Public Health Dentistry, Amrita School of Dentistry, Kochi, Kerala, India

Date of Submission14-Mar-2019
Date of Acceptance25-Jul-2019
Date of Web Publication12-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vineetha Karuveettil
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Amrita School of Dentistry, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, AIMS Ponekkara PO, Kochi - 682 041, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_32_19

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How to cite this article:
Ramanarayanan V, Joseph J, Kumar Y S, Kumar VS, Karuveettil V, Padamadan HJ, Malliga V. Curbing oral disease burden in India: Recommendations for integrating dentistry into public Health. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent 2019;17:258-9

How to cite this URL:
Ramanarayanan V, Joseph J, Kumar Y S, Kumar VS, Karuveettil V, Padamadan HJ, Malliga V. Curbing oral disease burden in India: Recommendations for integrating dentistry into public Health. J Indian Assoc Public Health Dent [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23];17:258-9. Available from: http://www.jiaphd.org/text.asp?2019/17/3/258/266763



Sir,

To tackle the combined burden of oral diseases and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), a comprehensive and integrated approach by focusing on common modifiable risk factors and social determinants is of importance. Experts from the field of dental public health and public health deliberated on finding common grounds for linking oral health and NCDs during theFirst Amrita International Public Health Conference 2018, Kochi. A symposium on oral health – a public health problem, panel discussion on NCD and oral health and a key note lecture on Universal Oral Health Coverage were conducted as a part of the conference. The following are the highlights of the scientific deliberations held during the conference.

Continuing surveillance of levels and patterns of various oral diseases is required for planning and evaluating community-based health promotion. Unfortunately, India has only a single nation-wide oral health survey to date. Therefore, integration of oral health with NCDs prevention program will be successful only if surveillance of oral disease is also concurrently done.[1]

Persistent and consequential oral health inequities exist within the Indian population owing to wide geographical variations and unequal distribution of oral health care services. Focus should be more on equal access to health care for those who have equal needs; equal utilization of health care and equal (or rather equitable) health outcomes[2] through properly framed and implemented policies.

Oral health in India suffers from lack of political attention. Health care in India is known for its massive inadequacy and near absence of public discussion on this inadequacy.[3] The political priority of oral health in India and the analysis of the reasons for its neglect revealed that a paradigm shift in the way oral health is addressed is the need of the hour.[4]

Universal Health Coverage for oral health requires an EPIC transition which includes Economic, Policies and Politics, Institutions, and Cost.[5] Implementation should emphasis on coverage with needed health services and financial protection by merging oral health with existing programs, developing a specific care pathway, and identifying essential drugs and diagnostics.[6]

Overall, the following conclusions were drawn and recommendations proposed during the conference:

  • Health service-centered modifications are required to address the needs of those with a given condition and offer preventive services
  • “Oral Health is an integral part of General Health,” is a well-accepted but less implemented fact. Common ground like NCDs can be a link to connect oral and general health and implement the common risk factor approach
  • Integration with NCDs prevention program will be successful only if surveillance of oral disease is also concurrently done
  • International and political advocacy is required for integration of oral health
  • Interdisciplinary changes in the curriculum of medical and dental courses are to deal with common risk factor approach
  • One-dimensional solutions, dealing with risk factors or diseases independently, have too narrow a scope. There are underlying common elements to chronic NCDs diseases (including oral disease) and its risk factors, as well as social dynamics and external influences. Hence, efforts should be directed at addressing macro-level determinants also.


Acknowledgment

We would like to thank the speakers Dr. Nagesh Laxminarayan, Dr. Manu Mathur, Dr. Shamaz Mohamed, Dr. R. Subramaniam, Dr. M. Gopalakrishna Pillai, Dr. Rajeev Basapathy and Dr. P. A. Praveen for sharing their valuable knowledge. We also express our gratitude to Dr. Chandrashekar Janakiram (NIDCR-NIH), and to the Department of Community Medicine and Centre for Public Health (Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences).

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Petersen PE. Priorities for research for oral health in the 21st century – The approach of the WHO Global Oral Health Programme. Community Dent Health 2005;22:71-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Mondal S. Health care services in India: A few questions on equity. Health (N Y) 2013;5:53.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Drèze J, Sen A. An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions. 1st ed. London: Allen Lane; 2013. p. 448.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Janakiram C, Sanjeevan V, Br R, Joseph J, Stauf N, Benzian H. Political priority of oral health in India: Analysis of the reasons for neglect. J Public Health Dent 2018;78:144-53.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Kieny MP, Bekedam H, Dovlo D, Fitzgerald J, Habicht J, Harrison G, et al. Strengthening health systems for universal health coverage and sustainable development. Bull World Health Organ 2017;95:537-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Glick M, Monteiro da Silva O, Seeberger GK, Xu T, Pucca G, Williams DM, et al. FDI vision 2020: Shaping the future of oral health. Int Dent J 2012;62:278-91.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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