FDI launches its observatory for oral health
FDI World Dental Federation launched its ‘Observatory for Oral Health Prevention and Control’ on 29 August during the Annual World Dental Congress in Istanbul.
The pilot project will see FDI distributing Android-based tablets to selected dentists worldwide, containing a series of e-questions for their patients. The concept is inspired by the format of the EGOHID project in Europe and the BRFSS of the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The Android-based tool also contains questions for the dentists themselves to address clinical data such as number of natural teeth, periodontal status and cancer lesions. However, the e-questions for patients will have sociological and medical core, dealing with oral hygiene habits, understanding of oral hygiene, behaviour, nutrition and a number of others, with a greater focus on the state of patients’ oral health.
In a world awash with data and information, what prompted FDI to take this initiative? Says FDI President Dr Orlando Monteiro da Silva: “There is a lot of available data on oral health, including in our own Oral Health Atlas – but the question is what does that data tell us?
“The World Health Organization seeks to monitor trends and determinants in the field of noncommunicable diseases and evaluate progress in their prevention and control. Our work with them on oral health has made it clear that the current data cannot anticipate in dynamic way future challenges for the profession and public that readily translate into indicators and targets. It therefore has limited value for National Dental Associations and oral health policy makers. We have to re-think and move fast. That is what we are doing now.”
The ‘FDI Observatory for Oral Health Prevention and Control’ programme is one of two items identified from FDI Vision 2020 for immediate implementation. The other is intra- and inter-professional collaborative practice as a means of better integrating dental medicine into the medical community for the benefit of patients.
FDI Vision 2020 maps the threats and opportunities facing oral health and oral health care during the coming decade in five key areas. They are to: (1) meet the increasing need and demand for oral healthcare; (2) expand the role of existing oral healthcare professionals; (3) Shape a responsive educational model; (4) mitigate the impacts of socio-economic dynamics and (5) foster fundamental and translational research and technology. It was launched in September 2012 at the 100th World Annual Dental Congress in Hong Kong.
 European Global Oral Health Indicators Development (EGOHID) seeks, in the field of oral health, “to provide quality, relevant and timely data, information and knowledge to support public health decision making at European, national, sub-national and local level.http://www.egohid.eu
 The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was established in 1984 by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is the world’s largest ongoing telephone survey. The BRFSS helps state and territorial health departments gather information about adult residents, regarding chronic diseases and conditions, health-risk behaviors, emerging health problems, and the use of preventive health services. http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/