Speech by Dr Wiwat R, WR Mongolia at the 10th International Conference of Asian Academy of Preventive Dentistry 14 September 2012
Honorable Speaker of the Parliament, H.E. Enkhbold Zandaakhuu
Honorable Chairman of Standing Committee of the Parliament of Mongolia, Dr. Bayarsaikhan Garidkhuu
Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Udval Natsag
Honorable First Lady of Mongolia, H.E. Mrs. Bolormaa Khajidsuren
President of Health Sciences University of Mongolia, Prof. Lkhagvasuren Tserenkhuu
President of Japanese Association for Dental Sciences, Prof. Kazuhiro Eto (Japan)
Distinguished Guests, Participants, Ladies and Gentleman,
It is my great honor to be here at this auspicious Conference of the Asian Academy of Preventive Dentistry with the theme “The future trend is oral health prevention in Asia”. I would like to thank the Government of Mongolia and the School of Dentistry of the Health Science University of Mongolia for their efforts in hosting this important event.
Dental caries is a growing public health problem. Globally 60–90% of school children and nearly all adults have dental caries; and it is higher among poor and disadvantaged population groups. These are the results of the high level of risk factors of oral diseases which include unhealthy diet, tobacco use, harmful alcohol use and poor oral hygiene.
In Mongolia, the “Healthy Child Campaign” conducted early this year showed that oral health was one of the common problems among school-aged children. Over 70,000 children were diagnosed with dental diseases with nearly 22,000 children from caries and 1,700 children received treatment of the dental illnesses at the tertiary level of care. Last year, WHO supported a survey on outdoor and indoor advertisements of unhealthy food around schools in Ulaanbaatar; and preliminary results showed that schoolchildren are exposed to aggressive marketing of soft drinks and fast food such as potato chips and candies from outdoor and indoor advertisements as well as through TV in Mongolia. These food and drinks are easily accessible and being sold at very affordable prices. These primary causes of dental caries are affecting our children in their everyday life at schools and in the communities. All these data indicate that young people are at high risk of dental diseases, and preventive measures in oral health in childhood is very essential in Mongolia. Oral diseases in adult and aging populations are also very common; and thus available and accessible dental health care is also very essential.
Many successful interventions have been observed in the areas of dental health. As an example, WHO has advocated the effective use of fluoride as an essential approach to prevent dental caries in the 21st century. The promotion of affordable fluoride toothpaste and culturally adapted fluoridation programmes have also been mentioned as a priority for WHO in the “World Oral Health Report 2003”. Population-wide fluoridation measures are considered the most effective intervention, complemented by appropriate use of toothpastes containing fluoride. For example, in Vietnam, water fluoridation results in substantial caries reduction with a high level of public acceptance. A milk fluoridation scheme has been implemented in Thailand since 2000.
WHO has set four strategic directions for oral disease prevention within the common goal to build healthy populations and communities and to combat ill health. These directions are as follow:
- Reducing oral disease burden and disability, especially in poor and marginalized populations.
- Promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing risk factors to oral health that arise from environmental, economic, social and behavioural causes.
- Developing oral health systems that equitably improve oral health outcomes, respond to people's legitimate demands, and are financially fair.
- Framing policies in oral health, based on integration of oral health into national and community health programmes, and promoting oral health as an effective dimension for development policy of society.
Implementation of these strategies in any country requires leadership of the government in developing good national policy, strengthening oral health infrastructure, dental health manpower development, promoting public-private partnership, and many others. I am confident that policy guidance, technical advices as well as experience sharing in this conference will contribute greatly to the strengthening of the oral health programme in Mongolia and other participating countries in the region.