Survey shows less than half of NDAs monitor and evaluate periodontal disease
FDI conducted a survey among its 150 members on periodontal health and found that, from the 61 National Dental Associations (NDAs) who took part, only 40% have a national monitoring and evaluation plan of periodontal disease. The survey was carried out between June and October 2017 and inquired on national health policies, health information systems, periodontal health education and workforce, and preventive or promotional activities carried out by NDAs.
All responses were gathered from the following FDI regions: Africa (18 out of 29), Asia Pacific & Middle East (19 NDAs out of 37 NDAs), Europe (11 out of 63 NDAs), Latin America (9 out of 16 NDAs), and North America (4 out of 5 NDAs).
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Exploring national health policies and information systems
Results from the survey showed that one third of the NDAs had national policies or guidelines addressing the prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Most of the policies include a specific focus on reducing exposure to risk factors; addressing mainly tobacco, sugar and an unhealthy diet.
In addition to NCDs, NDAs were asked about existing policies to promote periodontal health; prevent, diagnose and treat periodontal disease; workforce or specialized training education; and the healthcare system or health insurance in their countries. Only 15% of the countries surveyed had national policies addressing all listed issues.
The survey also highlighted that most NDAs (60%) lacked a national monitoring and evaluation plan of periodontal disease.
Periodontal health workforce and education
Most countries (81%) surveyed also indicated the existence of basic periodontal training within the core oral/dental undergraduate curriculum. However, less than half of the countries (42%) said to have postgraduate studies specialized in periodontics.
Three quarters of the NDAs reported knowledge of periodontology as a registered specialty in their countries. In addition, two thirds of the NDAs surveyed responded being aware of a dedicated periodontology association in their countries. When asked about periodontal screening, most NDAs (60%) said it was systematically included in routine dental check-ups.
Overall, the survey revealed that NDAs perceived a low level of periodontal health awareness among health professionals and the general public. This comes despite half of the NDAs conducting promotional campaigns for periodontal health, showing that there is still room for improvement in the prevention of periodontal disease and the promotion of periodontal health.
FDI’s strategy to achieve global periodontal health
The survey was carried out as part of FDI’s Global Periodontal Health Project (GPHP), which seeks to prioritize periodontal health at a national level through health promotion and disease prevention, and to integrate oral and periodontal health into policies addressing NCDs.
As part of the GPHP, the World Oral Health Forum (WOHF) during the 2017 FDI World Dental Congress in Madrid was dedicated to periodontal health. The WOHF explained why periodontal disease is important, prevention and therapy, and the current problems and recommended actions around it.