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Int Dent J. 2014 Dec;64(6):333-42. doi: 10.1111/idj.12132. Epub 2014 Sep 9.

Dentistry in the 21st century: challenges of a globalising world.

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Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, Suita, Japan.


Oral health is - literally - vital to good general health, not least because the mouth is the sentinel of the body. Dentistry, the Cinderella of health care, faces immense challenges of globalisation. Governments, having spent freely on everything from defence to social security, face mountains of debts which make budget cutbacks essential. Simultaneously, most developed countries have to pay increasing costs of caring for rapidly ageing populations. Dentistry is being pulled two ways: wealthy members of society demand high-end expensive treatment, much of it cosmetic rather than necessary to deal with disease, whereas many millions of poor people in developing countries cannot afford basic dental treatment and may never see a dentist. Too many governments and dentists persist with the expensive and destructive regime of 'drill and fill (and bill)'. International advances in care may not reach the clinician's chair because treatment guidelines and payments are set locally. An international symposium to celebrate Mikako Hayashi becoming Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Endodontology at Osaka University concluded that dentistry should move from an increasingly un-affordable curative model to a cost-effective evidence-based preventive model. The goal is to help people retain healthy natural teeth throughout their lives, as an essential part of enhancing their general health.


Oral health; globalising world; oral health promotion; preventive model; quality of life

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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