International Journal of Medical and Oral Research

: 2022  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19--21

The scope of dental public health in India versus other developing and developed countries

Bhakti Datar 
 Consultant Dental Surgeon and Expert in Public Health Dentistry, Pune, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Bhakti Datar
767/6, Pongal Building, Opposite PYC Hindu Gymkhana, Near Pallod Sari Shop, Off Bhandarkar Road, Pune - 411 004, Maharashtra


India is a developing country, the second-most populated country in the world. Public dental health is a specialty branch of dentistry, the scope of which in India and other developing and developed countries is compared. In the early 1920s, the developing nations showed less caries, which increased at the end of 20th century. In developed nations, caries prevalence was more at the start of 20th century but reduced at the end of 20th century. This was owing to fluoride use and proper preventive measures. In India, nearly 70% of the population is rural based. Making it accessible for oral health care is the basic need. The scope of public dental health will be primarily prevention based. The aim of this review is to the scope of dental public health (DPH) in India versus other developing and developed countries. Our review concludes that the scope of DPH in India has definitely a wide range. Other developing countries too have to broaden their scope in DPH to cater to huge population. The scope of DPH in developed nations also does not become less as the underprivileged show high prevalence of caries.

How to cite this article:
Datar B. The scope of dental public health in India versus other developing and developed countries.Int J Med Oral Res 2022;7:19-21

How to cite this URL:
Datar B. The scope of dental public health in India versus other developing and developed countries. Int J Med Oral Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jan 28 ];7:19-21
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India, the second-most populated country in the world, represents about 70% of the population in rural areas. Most of the rural sector is agrarian. Oral diseases are also regarded as neglected epidemics as they do not directly cause morbidity. The inclusion of dental treatments in health policies should be promoted. National oral health policy should be made functional to provide effective oral care.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Overpopulation is a known chronic problem India is facing since many decades. Owing to this root course, dental public health (DPH) is put to the great burden. In the background, looking at the historical part, the prehistoric man faced low incidence of oral diseases or caries owing to simple lifestyle and raw, fibrous healthy diet. Dental caries or some oral diseases being also called as a disease of modern civilization, it stimulates the scope of DPH in India and other developing and developed countries. DPH is a specialty branch of dentistry gaining a diverse profile of interest. The scope of DPH in India and also in other developing and developed countries is reviewed in this article.


Twelve articles from the electronic database PubMed were reviewed. The studies focusing on the scope of DPH in India were searched and focused. The study is made simple by presenting the review results in columnar format. The observations and review findings were compared based on certain parameters in the scope of DPH to deliver oral care.


Articles from India mainly revealed the National Oral Health Policy Program which was not implemented, global goals of oral care, and health-care delivery systems. A search for articles from other developing countries showed studies from the People's Republic of China and Brazil which were mainly focusing on their oral health-care policies. Southern Africa-related articles were mainly on the efficiency of mobile dental vans in oral health-care systems. Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Rwanda were countries that have tobacco epidemics. Articles about developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom were found to be about their oral health-care delivery systems through the National Institutes of Health and National Health Service, respectively. Information on water and salt fluoridation, dental therapies, dental homes, and mobile dentistry were also found. Detailed review findings are presented in the columnar format, as shown in [Table 1].{Table 1}


This review article discusses the scope of DPH in India and other developing and developed countries. In India, oral or dental care neither is included in any general health policy nor national oral health policy is yet functional.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] Furthermore, owing to the 70% of the rural population, the scope of the DHP widens at appointing the dental specialists at primary health-care centers, making mobile dental units more efficient, intensifying anti-tobacco and cancer screening camps, and school health camps.[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12],[13] Mobile dental vans have proved to be effective in southern Africa, DPH has a broad scope in caries prevention owing to the high rate of dental caries and malocclusion in African countries. Developed countries such as US and UK have established their health-care policies through NIH and NHS, respectively. In the USA, a dental therapist is a new concept as for dental hygienists. The workforce in DPH through dental auxiliaries is enhanced. Mobile dental emergency vans are made functional. The scope of DPH primarily focuses on preventive dental care to cater to the huge masses of population.


This is a review article. Therefore, research articles precisely studying the effectiveness of certain schemes pertaining to DPH are studied. Some relevant research articles were not accessible.


Exploding population is the root cause of the burden of DPH facilities. Hence, more ambitious and productive plans have to be made in the scope of DPH. Strong motivation in masses about oral care, dental-medical partnership, should be observed. Torchbearers such as school children and youths should be involved in raising awareness regarding oral care and anti-tobacco campaigning as they readily share the information with peers. These will aid in commitment to the prevention of oral diseases which is the ultimate goal in the broadened scope of DPH in both rural and urban populations. Overall the evidence-based productive plans in oral care with respect to culture, socioeconomical profiles of that community are to be practiced. Furthermore, the proportion of the population which can access the necessary oral care should be increased. This article concludes that the scope of DPH is wide enough in India and also in other developing and developed countries. Furthermore, it has a potential to develop even further for the enhancement of oral care delivery. Commitment to the prevention of oral diseases always remains at the highest priority in the scope of DPH in India and also in other developing and even developed countries.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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