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Advocacy

The Indian Dental Association's (IDA) commitment to dental excellence reflects via its advocacy issues to advance the dental profession and enhance access to dental care. We represent the interests of the dental profession to keep oral health issues prominent on the government's agenda. We day-in-day-out work with ministers, parliamentary secretaries, decision and policy makers to ensure that oral health is recognized as a significant public health issue, and educate them on national issues that affect dentists and their patients in India.

In recent years, IDA , working on behalf of our members has helped enact key legislation to promote oral health. We have opposed old regulations and sought clarifications on existing ones. Advocacy is not a one time but constant effort where the results are reaped over years . Yet, we are striving towards dental excellence, advancing the dental profession and access to oral health care for all the Indians via our meaningful initiatives.

Indian Dental Association (IDA) understands just how vital oral health is.

Oral health and general health have close linkages.

On one hand, oral health can be compromised by a number of chronic and infectious diseases which show symptoms in the mouth like chronic diabetes , vitamin deficiencies , stomach and intestine problems. Even the state of the mind and excessive mental stress is reflected in the mouth as ulcers or grinding of teeth.

On the other hand, oral diseases can lead to infection, inflammation , heart disease and other serious impacts on overall health. Thus, maintaining good oral health is crucial to sustain general health and vice versa.

In India oral health is taken for granted or ignored. We need to address disparities in oral health care among various disadvantaged and under served populations.

We therefore, maintain advocacy efforts with policy makers and stakeholders to promote policies that encourage increased availability of oral health care and to address issues.

IDA presents policies at global level via its membership of World Dental Federation and Commonwealth Dental Association and International Association of Dental Research where IDA advocates and presents oral health issues for a bigger impact.

  • To reduce mortality from oral and craniofacial diseases;
  • To promote sustainable, priority-driven policies and programmes in oral health systems that have been derived from systemic reviews of best practices (i.e. the policies are evidence-based);
  • To develop accessible cost-effective oral health systems for the prevention and control of oral and craniofacial diseases;
  • To integrate oral health promotion and care with other sectors that influence health, using the common risk factor approach;
  • To develop oral health programmes that will empower people to control determinants of health;
  • To strengthen systems and methods for oral health surveillance, both processes and outcomes;
  • To promote social responsibility and ethical practices of care givers;
  • To reduce disparities in oral health between different socio-economic groups within country and inequalities in oral health across states;
  • To increase the number of health care providers who are trained in accurate epidemiological surveillance of oral diseases and disorders.

Oral health is taken for granted

Oral health is often taken for granted, but it is an essential part of our everyday lives. Good oral health enhances our ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey our feelings and emotions through facial expressions.

Oral diseases affect the most basic human needs: The ability to eat and drink, swallow, maintain proper nutrition, smile and communicate. However, oral diseases, which range from cavities to oral cancer, cause pain and disability.

Oral health and overall health and well-being are inextricably connected. Many systemic conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS, diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome,and osteoporosis have important oral symptoms, manifestations or complications. The lips, tongue, gingivae (gums), oral mucosa and salivary glands can all signal clinical disease elsewhere in the body.

The mouth is a complex and unique environment. It contains exquisitely sensitive tissues that are used for taste, chewing, swallowing, speech, facial expression and fighting off diseases. It has one of the highest concentrations of sensory and motor nerves in the body, four different types of calcified tissue, and contains nearly 500 species of microbes (only about half of which have been cultivated thus far) that maintain a delicate balance between health and disease.

Our challenges extend from the continued struggle against two of the most common infectious diseases – dental caries and periodontal diseases – to eliminating life-threatening oral and pharyngeal malignancies, craniofacial birth defects and developmental disorders, acute and chronic orofacial pain and other conditions that compromise oral health.

We must not only understand the risk factors which contribute to oral diseases but seek new ways to improve quality of life.

Oral health is essential to general health and well being

As mentioned earlier, the Indian Dental Association ( IDA) affirms that oral health is essential to general health and well- being. IDA aims that

  • No one should suffer from oral diseases which can be prevented and treated.
  • Schoolchild should not suffer caries.
  • Rural population should not experience poor oral health because of barriers to access to care, shortages of resources and personnel.

This crystallize IDA’s aim for optimal oral health for the nation. The association is confident that rewards in health and well-being can accrue for all Indian. However, a number of barriers hinder the ability of Indian from attaining optimal oral health.

We advocate oral health partnership

Improving the nation’s oral health is an ambitious goal and IDA recognizes the importance of partnerships in achieving this. We therefore promote and advocate the need to bring in new partners from the scientific community, academia, the health professions, health voluntary organizations, industry and government. Our partnerships with both public and private sector organizations is important to realize our goal of promoting the timely transfer of knowledge and its implications to all.

This translates into

  • Policies that integrate oral health promotion, disease prevention and oral health care into policy agendas to achieve improvements in the oral health .
  • Dental diseases are for the most part preventable and effective interventions must be available both at community and individual levels.
  • In many instances, oral health remains separate and distinct from general health. Risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, dietary practices and other health habits, which are common to many illnesses, are also implicated in oral diseases. Therefore, oral health should be integrated into all health programmes.
  • Appropriate educational and training programmes should be strengthened to integrate oral health into general health programmes and to provide specialized dental services.

IDA's advocacy drive

The association, as the collective national voice of dental professionals works tirelessly to influence public policies affecting the practice of dentistry and the oral health of all Indians. Our goal is to ensure that the voices of dental professionals and those we serve, are heard and understood. This translates into the right to practice to the full extent of their dental education and licensure.

The IDA lobbies before government and the administration—fighting for things that matter both to the dentists and the patients they serve.

Working on your behalf to:

  • Promote the advancement of the dental professionals;
  • Promote the oral health of the public;
  • Promote access to oral health.


Therefore, IDA is committed to working on behalf of its members to help enact key legislation that affects the practice of dentistry. IDA believes the dental profession and its success affects the nation's health. Our highest priorities are to advance the dental profession, to enhance access and quality dental care for patients, and to fight unwarranted regulations of the dental profession, improve access to dental care, promote clinics efficiency and frivolous lawsuits and more.

Advocacy Committee

IDA's Advocacy Committee aims to establish excellent relationships between its members and their elected representatives. Legislation committee is an essential and critical part of IDA's government relations programme. IDA supports legislators who believe in a sensible approach, treatment of dental disease and oral health within our health care system. They promote policies that support sustainable solutions for prevention of dental decay, oral health education, research, advocacy and patient support activities by focus on advocating for oral health in health reform.

Levels of Advocacy

  • Community Health Centres / Practice Incentives for Underserved Areas
  • Disaster Preparedness & Response
  • Fluoride & Fluoridation
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • National dental insurance
  • Practice ethics
  • Small Business / Dental Products
  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Student Aid
  • Tobacco Control / Oral Cancer awareness and control
  • Advertising
  • Registration Issues
  • Medical Liability Reform
  • Ownership and Practice
  • Scope of Practice
  • Registration Issues
  • Medical Liability Reform
  • Ownership and Practice
  • Scope of Practice

Advocacy Issues

Good oral health is important to overall health and well-being. Good oral health does not just happen; it is the result of both personal responsibility and professional care.

Basic awareness of oral health issues for many Indians may be quite limited because of cultural or language barriers or problems with literacy. Many Indians lack understanding and awareness of the importance of oral health and its essential relationship to their overall health.

Lack of access to care is the result of many factors, including patients' perceived need for care, lack of oral health literacy, geographic distribution of dentists and dental teams, economical disadvantage, individuals with physical disabilities and/or mental health challenges.

It is important that government, dental professionals, and IDA work together to break the many barriers to oral care access. We have been identifying and addressing access issues by our various initiatives -- which provides a platform to forge a common ground in order to harness opportunities and create viable solutions for improved oral health through prevention and treatment for vulnerable populations.

IDA has elevated the status of the dental fraternity by drafting the Dentist Act 1946 and its amendments.

It has been instrumental in drafting the National Oral Health Policy for the Government of India.

IDA has organized national workshop under the aegis Govt. of India and Dental Council of India on Dental Personnel Resource Management, First National Oral Health survey under banner of All India Dental Wellness Initiative in collaboration with Govt. of India.

IDA is responsible for placing Dental Surgeons on par with their medical counterparts in government services.

IDA is also responsible for banning of tobacco products like gutka.

A reduction in customs duty on the import of dental goods has been possible by the unstinted efforts of IDA.

IDA’s unique position has also enabled us to:

  • Preserve tax-deductible flexible spending accounts.
  • To introduce dental insurance for treatments
  • Dental services to taluka level.

The growth and sustainability of the dental professionals depends on strong and consistent advocacy. The Indian Dental Association (IDA) supports you and your interests at the local and state level by making sure that legislators and decision makers are aware of your positions on practice issues ranging from direct access to scope of your practice.

IDA helps member dental professionals in their efforts to improve public oral health by providing resources and assistance. Involvement in IDA’s initiatives give the association strength to further advocate for public policy issues.

Practice management issues

IDA's practice management initiatives supports your dental practice and provide you with the latest information on managed dental care, dental benefits and insurance, and practical business and marketing advice.

Though not exhaustive, below is a list of issues the IDA is currently taking up with the government both at state and center level to ensure that all Indians have access to preventative oral care.

Certified clinics are dental clinics accredited or certified by the Indian Dental Association's (IDA) Accreditation Committee, to be following the set policies, guidelines and standards. The committee assures that the dental treatment provided in clinics meets or exceeds existing standards in regard to quality, quantity, appropriateness, need, and safety.

In a nut shell thereby advocating patient safety, quality and value for optimal oral care. Oral health is linked to overall health and there is growing evidence that providing oral health coverage can save on medical costs.

IDA commitment to dental excellence, translates into a network of certified clinics for provision of optimal national oral health for all. IDA's is as an important driver for safety and quality improvement.

IDA advocacy for rendering highest quality of public oral health care translates into encouraging and providing for continuing education (CE) to its members. Continuing dental education maintains, improves and broadens the knowledge and skills, keeps professional expertise up-to-date in line with current developments, and thereby enhances the quality of oral health care. The dental profession’s foremost priorities are to promote and provide oral health care. This is possible only by the accreditation of continuing education.

Accreditation of continuing dental education

Accreditation of continuing dental education needs certain well drafted guidelines to support the profession’s commitment to provide quality oral health care. These accreditation guidelines establish, maintain and apply standards that ensure the quality and continuous improvement of dental and dental- related education and reflect the evolving practice of dentistry.

Indian Dental Association's (IDA) two councils Accredited Continuing Dental Education Programme (ACDEP) Governing Board and Accredited Continuing Dental Education Programme (ACDEP) Provider Regulatory Board aims at improving the accreditation process, updating the accreditation requirements pertaining to implementing related activities.

IDA promotes and advocates dentistry by perpetuating the profession’s integrity and ethics, strengthening the patient- doctor relationship and serving as both a source of information and a voice for the profession.

IDA promotes and advocates dentistry by offering a wide range of information and clinical support services to members via its publications.

Publications
Publications

IDA publications connect members to news and information about the association. They are a reliable source of information about developments affecting the profession. These publications also provide members with first-class clinical resources.

Journal of the Indian Dental Association (JIDA)

JIDA is the only peer-reviewed dental journal, the Journal of the Indian Dental Association (JIDA)is IDA's clinical and research publication. Published annually, JIDA maintains a unique body of knowledge and relays the latest developments in the profession and organized dentistry. JIDA employs a complementary print and publishing strategy to provide essential knowledge to Indian dentists and their colleagues worldwide.

JIDA contains a lively mix of clinical articles, information about issues facing the dental profession, summaries of research papers and news about matters pertinent to dentists. It is mailed to all dentists and dental students.

IDA promotes and advocates dentistry for optimal oral care via Code of Ethics. Being a dentist is a colossal responsibility to patients, society and to fellow members to perform activities in an ethical manner.

These are principles of professional conduct to which the dentist must aspire to fulfill their duties to their patients, public and profession. Code promotes ethical conduct and professional responsibility, facilitates dialogue on common problems in dental practice.

IDA recognises that continued public trust in the dental profession is based on the commitment of individual dentists to high ethical standards of conduct.

IDA advocates for the importance of better quality choices to achieve optimal oral health. We endorse products for safety and quality via IDA seal. When you see the IDA Seal, you can be sure the oral use product has been scientifically evaluated to be safe and effective. The seal is designed to help public and dental professionals make informed choices for their purchasing decisions.

We endorse oral use products by the 'Seal of Approval'. When you see a product with this logo on it, you have the reassurance the product has been scientifically tested to prove it is efficient at improving oral health. The guidelines are developed and revised on a constant basis in keeping the advances in dental sciences and the changing needs of the dental practitioner and general public.

National Acts

The Dental Council of India – a statutory body – was constituted on 12th April 1949 under an Act of Parliament - the Dentists Act, 1948 (XVI of 1948) with a view to regulate the dental education, dental profession and dental ethics thereto-which came into existence in March, 1949. It is financed by the Govt. of India in the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (Department of Health) through Grant-in aid. The General Body of the Dental Council of India represents various State Governments, Universities, Dental Colleges, Central Government, etc.

Dental Council of India

The Dental Council of India is constituted by an Act of Parliament. ‘The Dentists Act 1948’ (XVI of 1948) with a view to regulate the dental education, dental profession and dental ethics there to- which came into existence in March, 1949.

Composition

  • The Council is composed of 6 constituencies representing Central Government, State Government, Universities, Dental Colleges, Medical Council of India and the Private Practitioners of Dentistry.
  • The Director – General of Health Services is Ex-Officio Member – both of the Executive Committee and General Body.
  • The Council elects from themselves the President, Vice-President and the members of the Executive Committee.
  • The elected President and the Vice-President are the Ex-Officio Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee.
  • The Executive Committee carries out the function of the council under the Act of including which deals with all procedures, financial and day-to-day activities and affairs of the Council.

The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 has been enacted by the Central Government to provide for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments in the country with a view to prescribe the minimum standards of facilities and services provided by them. The Act has taken effect in the four States namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Sikkim, and all Union Territories except the NCT of Delhi since 1st March, 2012 vide Gazette notification dated 28th February, 2012. The States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam have adopted the Act under clause (1) of article 252 of the Constitution.

The Ministry has notified the National Council for Clinical Establishments and the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012 under this Act vide Gazette notifications dated 19th March, 2012 and 23rd May, 2012 respectively.

The Act is applicable to all types (both therapeutic and dignostic types) of Clinical Establishments from the public and private sectors, belonging to all recognized systems of medicine, including single doctor clinics. The only exception is Clinical Establishments run by the Armed forces.

Medical Devices Regulation Bill

To consolidate laws related to medical devices and to establish the Medical Device Regulatory Authority of India for establishing and maintaining a national system of controls relating to quality, safety, efficacy and availability of medical devices that are used in India, whether produced in India or elsewhere and exported from India.

The National Commission for Human Resources for Health Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 22, 2011 by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad. It was referred to the Department related Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare (Chairperson: Shri Brajesh Pathak), which is scheduled to submit its report within three months.The Bill seeks to establish a mechanism to determine and regulate the standard of health education in the country. It shall repeal the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947; the Pharmacy Act, 1948; the Dentists Act,1948 and the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 on such date as decided by the central government.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 which came into force on 15th April, 1987 is a welfare legislation mainly titling towards the consumer just as the Industrial Disputes Act is loaded in favor of workers. The aims and objects of the Act inter alia are, as given in its Preamble, better protection of the interests of the consumer and for settlement of consumer disputes. It provides for speedy and inexpensive settlement of disputes within a limited time frame, as against civil actions which are costly and take years in coming to a settlement. Provisions of the Act are in addition to and not in derogation of any other law for the time being in force and are compensatory in nature.

The Act envisages three-tier quasi-judicial machinery, i.e. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at the district level State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of the state level and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at the National level.

Recently, the Act has been amended by the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, 1993, w.e.f. 18.6.1993. We shall deal selectively with provisions of the Act which are relevant to the Medical Profession, as they exist as on today. The meaning of legal terms is being restricted to such terms only as concern the Medical Profession.

IDA represents and advocates in the interests of the dental professionals and promote oral health issues so that it is given top priority in the government’s agenda. We work with the cabinet and state ministers, parliamentary secretaries and committee members who influence decision-making within the government to ensure that they recognize oral health as a significant public health issue.

Making a difference takes patience. It is essential to maintain a sensible approach, formulate a framework for reforms within our health care system, by communication our message before policy-makers. IDA's Legislation Committee is an essential and critical part of IDA's government relations programme. We advocate dental policies that support sustainable solutions for prevention of dental decay, oral health education, research and patient support activities. A legislative strategy which necessitates evaluating the oral health care before steps can be taken to improve it. Good quality information is essential in planning and implementation of oral health policies.

We establish excellent relationships between our members and their elected representatives. Every year, IDA and interested stakeholders lobby at the national level to ensure that tax initiatives and programmes have a favourable impact on dental practice and the profession of dentistry. We know that making oral health care affordable and accessible to all Indians is good news for your patients and our profession.

IDA’s goals are to minimize the impact of diseases of the oral and craniofacial origin on general health and psychological development. Minimize the impact of oral and craniofacial manifestations of systemic diseases in individuals and to promote early diagnosis, prevention and effective management of systemic diseases.

Objectives

  • To reduce mortality from oral and craniofacial diseases;
  • To promote sustainable, priority-driven policies and programmes in oral health systems that have been derived from systemic reviews of best practices (i.e. the policies are evidence- based);
  • To develop accessible cost-effective oral health systems for the prevention and control of oral and craniofacial diseases;
  • To integrate oral health promotion and care with other sectors that influence health, using the common risk factor approach;
  • To develop oral health programmes that will empower people to control determinants of health;
  • To strengthen systems and methods for oral health surveillance, both processes and outcomes;
  • To promote social responsibility and ethical practices of care givers;
  • To reduce disparities in oral health between different socio-economic groups within country and inequalities in oral health across states;
  • To increase the number of health care providers who are trained in accurate epidemiological surveillance of oral diseases and disorders.

Formulating policies

Legislation and Policy decisions

IDA has elevated the status of the dental fraternity. It has been responsible for drafting the Dentist Act 1946 and its amendments.

It has been instrumental in drafting the National Oral Health Policy for the Government of India.

IDA has organized national workshop under the aegis of Govt. of India and Dental Council of India on Dental Personnel Resource Management, First National Oral Health survey under banner of All India Dental Wellness Initiative in collaboration with Govt. of India.

IDA is responsible for placing Dental Surgeons on par with their medical counterparts in government services.

IDA is also responsible for banning of tobacco products like gutka.

A reduction in customs duty on the import of dental goods has been possible by the unstinted efforts of IDA.

IDA’s unique position has also enabled us to :

  • Preserve tax-deductible flexible spending accounts.
  • To introduce dental insurance for treatments.
  • Dental services to taluka level.

Policy Statements

IDA develops policy statements and disseminates policies, standards and information related to all aspects of oral health care. IDA presents policies which have a vast impact with active involvement in global oral health – as a member of World Dental Federation, Asia Pacific Dental Federation and Commonwealth Dental Association and International Association of Dental Research.

As advocates of children's oral health, the IDA works closely with legislators, professional associations and health care professionals to develop policies and guidelines, implement research opportunities in pediatric oral health and educate pediatric dentists, health care providers and the public regarding pediatric oral health.

The Indian Dental Association’s (IDA) National School Oral Health Policy statement was drafted to crystallize IDA's aim for optimal oral health for children. Clearly defined policy sets the action- framework for achieving dental excellence -- high quality, cost effective oral services for all Indians especially the most vulnerable.

The association realised that little attention was given to ensuring that the oral health needs of young children of people with low incomes and minorities, those with special health care needs, and people in rural areas. This was a serious omission.

Senior citizens face various issues which are different from those faced by the rest of the population.

Dry mouth, improper nutrition, missing teeth, compromised health, deficiencies and inadequate funds make them vulnerable to a host of oral diseases.

Women need specialized care right from puberty to pregnancy right through post menopausal phase and old age.

Pregnancy is an extremely special time wherein the mother and baby's health is extremely critical. Given below are some guidelines for expectant mothers , safest time for treatment and nutritional advice.

Several challenges are faced by dentists and patients alike in rural areas.

IDA strongly believes that rural areas must be equipped with dentists , mobile dental vans and counsellors for tobacco cessation.

The challenges faced by rural areas are unique as they have limited access to care and limited knowledge about oral hygiene maintenance and harmful effects of tobacco consumption.

Advocacy Activity by IDA

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