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Int Dent J. 2013 Dec;63(6):324-8.

Oral health inequalities: a call for action to improve oral health in India.



To gain insight and learning on the perceived issues and challenges facing dentists within India and to provide guidance on how the wider Indian Diaspora may be able to help solve them.


A pilot-tested online survey, containing both quantitative and qualitative questions, was administered amongst dentists practising in India.


A total of 1,194 dentists completed the 'Indian Oral Health Survey'. The results highlighted that a significant number of individuals perceived the current state of oral health in India as 'somewhat bad' (44%) while also emphasising the pressing need for government initiatives to improve these standards (78%). Some of the key challenges that need to be addressed in the next 5 years are gum disease (19%), dental caries (18%), oral health awareness (17%) and the increasing rates of oral cancer (16%). This survey also revealed that there is a need to review and change the current state of dental education in India. Furthermore, dentists practising in India would like their Indian counterparts living overseas to give back to their country of origin via mentoring programmes (23%), support initiatives in India both through monetary support (17%) and working for charity, as well as by sharing their skills, expertise and experiences.


There is currently a desperate need to improve oral health in India, especially among the underprivileged populations. The survey also revealed that the current dental education system is in need of revision and young dentists in India would like to be mentored by their counterparts overseas.

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