How China is Shaping the Future of Oral Health for the FDI World Dental Congress 2020 in Shanghai
China and its oral health challenges
In China, significant differences exist between urban and rural populations in terms of oral hygiene practices and access to oral care. Results of a study published in the International Dental Journal in 2005 revealed that regular tooth brushing was three times more frequent in urban than in rural areas.
There are also a limited number of oral health professionals to serve the population: the dentist to population ratio is 1:100,000. As expected, the use of oral health services is somewhat lower in rural than urban areas, with significantly more rural participants having never seen a dentist during their lifetime. Due to the limited availability of dentists, most people have a symptomatic, rather than preventive, approach to dental care. The most frequently cited reasons for dental visits are toothache, need for tooth extraction, and prosthetic treatment.
Dental care is offered on a fee-for-service basis that not everyone can afford: the fees for restorative services are approximately twice the cost of tooth extraction and are 10-times higher than preventive services. The 2005 study reported that many people living in urban areas had at least part of their dental costs covered by their employer, which was not the case in rural areas, keeping oral care in these areas even more out of reach.
Healthy China 2030
China is a powerful ally in achieving a global community commitment to health. Recognizing that health is fundamentally linked to successful economic and social development, the Chinese government is making progress to protect and promote the health and well-being of its citizens.
The Healthy China 2030 initiative is an ambitious vision to incorporate health into all policies and engage the whole of government in health. Healthy China 2030 includes special provisions to improve oral health. As part of its vision, Healthy China 2030 implements special campaigns to raise awareness on oral diseases, among other health concerns. FDI congratulates the Chinese government for ensuring that oral health is recognized as being integral to overall health and well-being and is grateful that the policy landscape provides such a welcoming setting for the FDI World Dental Congress 2020.
FDI and the Chinese Stomatological Association join forces for better oral health outcomes
FDI and the Chinese Stomatological Association (CSA) have worked side by side to increase access to oral care and improve oral hygiene habits in China’s rural areas, most notably through the Smile Around the World initiative. Smile Around the World aims to introduce the importance of oral health through a series of educational workshops that will help children establish good oral health habits from a young age. The latest initiative was implemented earlier this year in three elementary schools in the cities of Pingxiang and Ganzhou in Jiangxi province.
The FDI World Dental Congress 2020, which is being co-hosted by the CSA, shows a joint commitment to continue strengthening our partnership to improve the oral health of populations. By working together to build the scientific programme, we will give global relevance to local research and learnings, as well as share best practices on how to address the oral health challenges that are common to all geographical settings. We will also learn more about the Healthy China 2030 initiative and how this translates globally. The Congress will offer hundreds of continuing education (CE) opportunities and cover hot topics in clinical practice, research, public health and will feature numerous hands-on workshops.
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The World Dental Congress (WDC) is a flagship event for FDI, strengthening ties and fostering collaboration within the global oral health community.