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Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry Official publication of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 115
 

Will paediatric dentists please stand up?


Director, Global Child Dental Health Taskforce, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Raman Bedi
Director, Global Child Dental Health Taskforce
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-4388.27890

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How to cite this article:
Bedi R. Will paediatric dentists please stand up?. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2006;24:115

How to cite this URL:
Bedi R. Will paediatric dentists please stand up?. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2006 [cited 2019 Oct 23];24:115. Available from: http://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2006/24/3/115/27890


Child oral health has improved significantly over the past three decades; especially for the older child. This statement is often cited by politicians and used as a currency to ignore the fact that the majority of dental caries in children remain untreated, oral health inequalities persist, and access to dental services for low-income groups remains meagre.

The proportion of a national dental budget for child dental services should be at least 40%. The budget for oral health should be 6% of the total health budget. However, these targets are not realised in the vast majority of countries and if they were, would there be a consensus on how the increased budget should be used? These are challenging questions, and the lack of a visible debate among the profession as a whole is a clear sign that we need to strengthen the leadership within the paediatric dental community.

What might be the leadership roles for paediatric dentistry in a world, which is determined to significantly improve child oral health?

First, they need to educate the public and dental leaders about the challenges to be faced in addressing child oral health. Children with traumatic injuries, special care dentistry, routine prevention, and restorative care all need an appropriate workforce, and a national commitment to the importance of oral health. Paediatric dentists need to work effectively in public health settings; for example, helping shape public literacy with regard to child oral health and water fluoridation.

Second, they need to be custodians of documenting and examining the changing oral health of children and promoting positive oral health. They need to be champions of child oral health, positioning themselves at the centre of academic industry, and government policy so that when priorities in oral health are discussed they are able to be strong and effective advocates.

Third, they need to build global capacity and work with developing countries. India trains a significant number of the dentists worldwide. Many of these individuals will work overseas. The emerging strength of the Indian economy will be matched by the growing reputation of the Indian dental research community. There will be opportunities for Indian trained paediatric dentists to help their counterparts in developing countries, and for institutions to train postgraduates in this discipline.

The Indian child dental health taskforce met for their first meeting in July 2006. This is part of a global initiative to improve child oral health; to this end a global taskforce was established in January 2006. Each national taskforce consists of the dental leadership of the country, and its aim is to significantly improve child oral health and address inequalities.

Ten countries have been targeted and it is planned that all taskforces will be up and running by the end of 2006. The ten countries are India, Australia/New Zealand, Philippines, China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Kingdom, USA, Brazil and Mexico. These countries have 50 percent of children worldwide and so the project has a potential of impacting on the oral health of 1 billion children (< 15 year olds).

A daunting task, which can only be achieved collectively by the paediatric dental community. Therefore, will the paediatric dentists please stand up?


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  2005 - Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow 
Online since 1st May '05