Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2009  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 129--130

Recent advances in oral health care in India

Harshal T Pandve 
 Department of Community Medicine, Dr. D.Y. Patil Medical College, Pimpri, Pune - 411 018, India

Correspondence Address:
Harshal T Pandve
Department of Community Medicine, Dr. D.Y. Patil Medical College, Pimpri, Pune - 411 018

How to cite this article:
Pandve HT. Recent advances in oral health care in India.Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:129-130

How to cite this URL:
Pandve HT. Recent advances in oral health care in India. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2009 [cited 2020 Jul 10 ];20:129-130
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Oral health is an important aspect of the overall health of an individual. Diseases such as dental caries and oral cancers are major public health issues in India. Dental caries, with a prevalence as high as 60-80% in children, is a major public health problem in India. [1] Oral cancer has also long been a major problem in this country. [2] Despite this, oral health has not been given sufficient importance in our country. Preventive dental care is almost nonexistent in the rural areas and very limited in urban areas. [3] Although orodental problems may not be life threatening, their treatment is often expensive. They can be prevented and controlled to a large extent by health education and motivation. It is therefore essential that to combat oral diseases a preventive approach, with the focus on health education and promotion, be given prime importance. [4]

The National Oral Health Care Programme was launched as a pilot project in 1999 to reduce the increasing morbidity due to orodental problems in the country. To start with it was implemented in Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi, Kerala, and the North-Eastern states. The main focus of this programme is on prevention through generation of awareness. Thus, the strategy has been oral health education of school children and the public, with extensive use of information, education and communication (IEC) materials for awareness generation. The project was reviewed by the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare in 2004.

The strategies proposed for the eleventh 5-year plan include oral health education, formulation of a Basic Package on Oral Health (BPOC) for the country and its implementation, manpower and infrastructure development and capacity building, and monitoring of dental public health as well as research through National, State, and District Oral Health Cells. The total budget proposed for the National Oral Health Care Programme in the eleventh 5-year plan is Rs.182.09 crores.

Apart from the National Oral Health Care Programme, the National Cancer Control Programme has also been given much importance in the eleventh 5-year plan. The problem of oral cancers will be dealt with under the National Cancer Control Programme at the national level. [5] Apart from these initiatives there is the National Rural Health Mission's, School Health Programme, which includes an oral health awareness programme for children and also an oral/dental screening programme for early identification and prevention of orodental problems. [6]

Presently, oral health is being given immense importance at the national level. Most initiatives are aimed at the prevention of orodental disease, In the future, however, the curative aspects of oral health must also receive attention. Treatment of orodental disease is expensive and unaffordable for a large proportion of the country's population, especially for the rural poor. This issue must be addressed. Oral health is an integral part of the overall health of a person and the recent developments are therefore very heartening for those concerned about public health. Such initiatives by the government are always welcome.


1Damle SG. Epidemiology of dental caries in India. In: Pediatric dentistry. New Delhi: Arya Publishing House; 2002. p. 75-96.
2Gupta PC. Mouth cancer in India: A new epidemic? J Indian Med Assoc 1999;97:370-3.
3Shah N. Geriatric oral health issues in India. Int Dent J 2001;51:212-8.
4Prakash H, Mathur VP. National oral health care program. Indian Pediatr 2002;39:1001-5.
5Oral Health. Report of Working Group on Communicable and Non-communicable diseases for 11th five year plan, Sep 2006. Available from: [last assessed on 2007 Dec 29].
6Support for School Health Programmes / Adolescent Health Programmes, NRHM activities and norms. Available from: [last assessed on 2007 Dec 29].