Community focus is on the oral health, which is an essential component of health throughout life. Poor oral health, untreated oral diseases and conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life and general health. They can affect the most basic human needs, including the ability to eat and drink, swallow, maintain proper nutrition, smile and communicate.
IDA organizes oral health awareness activities throughout the country. These programmes are aimed at training school teachers and parent about basic oral care techniques and creating awareness in children about better oral health care practices. Not many are aware of the fact that oral health is essential for overall health and well being.
IDA aims to create awareness through education and motivation of the public towards prevention, interception and correction of dental diseases and related disorders. Awareness is also brought about through IDA’s publications which are dedicated to public health and patient education literature.
IDA views the oral health of the community as essential not only for good overall health but also freedom from the pain and suffering associated with oral health problems. The association realizes that oral health also affects self- esteem, quality of life and performance at school and at work.
The assessment of the community is thoughtfully planned by IDA in order to develop, integrate, expand or enhance a community oral health programmes. After assessing the communities’ oral health needs and resources, IDA has categorized the general public in the following groups. A glimpse into the oral health activities organized by IDA for different segments of society are as follows:
IDA focuses on women as they have special oral health needs. Hormonal fluctuations, puberty, menses, pregnancy, menopause and the use of contraceptive medications all influence women’s oral health and the way in which a dentist should approach treatment. We at IDA, inculcate that dentistry should take into account the hormonal effects on the oral cavity during various stages in women’s lives that is from the time of adolescence, motherhood to menopause.
Adolescence : Puberty is the time in life when physical changes occur, by which a child's body becomes an adult capable of reproduction. When young women enter puberty, the changes in oestrogen levels are also reflected by changes in the gingival tissues. Hormone-influenced gingivitis appears in some adolescents before menstruation. Gum inflammation may also occur during ovulation. Other oral problems may be exacerbation of herpes infection, aphthous ulcers, prolonged haemorrhage following oral surgery, swollen salivary glands, particularly the parotids and tooth mobility may also be observed.
The effect of Oral Contraceptives on the oral cavity is a growing concern with the pills increasing the swelling of the gums (gingival inflammation). Apart from these, the pills cause local alveolar osteitis i.e. the non-healing of an extraction socket. Salivary flow may change, resulting in chronic dry mouth.
Menopause : Results in alterations in the oral mucosa, including thinning of the epithelial lining. This has been identified as menopausal gingivostomatitis, in which the gingiva becomes dry, bleeds easily and may experience change in colour. Oestrogen deficiency after menopause reduces bone mineral density, which leads to bone loss. Bone loss is associated with both periodontal disease and osteoporosis. Women suffer burning mouth syndrome (stomatopyrosis) burning pain in the tongue or oral mucous membranes. The disorder has been associated with a variety of other conditions including psychological problems, nutritional deficiencies and disorders of the mouth, such as oral thrush and dry mouth (xerostomia).
IDA’s role is to generate awareness and creation of network of dentists who are motivated and inspired to meet the specific dental needs.
IDA inculcates the opinion that a child’s dental care starts with his or her mother’s healthy pregnancy, because baby’s teeth begin to form before birth.
Pregnancy : During pregnancy, make sure to eat a balanced nutritious diet and have adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. A mother to-be undergoes a number of changes in the oral cavity, including caries, perimyolysis, tooth mobility, xerostomia, pregnancy granuloma and ptyalism / sialorrhea. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can aggravate existing gingivitis. This is called pregnancy gingivitis. Recent studies have indicated that women with periodontal disease have an increased risk of pre- term births.
They also suffer from pregnancy tumours which are large, painless lumps in the mouth. Acid erosion of teeth occurs due to repeated vomiting associated with morning sickness or esophageal reflux. Generalised tooth mobility may also occur. Some pregnant women complain of mouth dryness due to hormonal alterations associated with pregnancy. The association realizes these problems and steps in for offering solutions and care.
Infant : IDA also recognizes that infant oral health is the foundation upon which preventive education and dental care must be built. We educate the parents about the first dental visit and that it’s best to start oral health habits before permanent teeth appear. The saliva left on the utensil shared with infants may contain bacteria that cause tooth decay. Sometimes, kissing can also transfer bacteria.
You can help prevent early childhood tooth decay by making sure that the family practices good dental health habits. Keeping your own teeth and gums healthy reduces the risk of transferring tooth decay bacteria to your child. Our aim is to create the awareness that modification of the mother’s oral hygiene, diet and the use of topical fluoride can have a significant impact on the child’s caries rate.
Thus, IDA emphasis in creating awareness on oral hygiene in this category of society. It believes in educating mothers as they are the crucial key to their and the child’s health.
We at IDA recognize the fact that Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is an infectious and preventable disease that is transmitted vertically from others or other intimate caregivers to infants. India is the youngest country in the world, with a population of 440 million children and another 26 million being added every year. Creating oral health care awareness is IDA’s aim, as studies indicate that 70% children under 15 years have gum diseases and dental decay and another 40% suffer from malocclusion.
Keeping children in mind, IDA launched its prestigious project ‘Child Task Force’ in February 2010, under its banner Child Dental Centre (CDC) to intercept dental caries with the aim of significantly improving child dental health in the country and eradicating dental caries.
CDC besides oral check up of school children, educates teachers and parents to create dental awareness and makes provision of critical preventive dental services through promotion of sealants and fluoride gels through school based oral health programmes. CDC plans to undertake a dental check up of school children in 86,000 primary schools in Maharashtra state and will help the school maintain oral health records of primary school children.
Under the Oral Health Month (OHM) 2010, initiated by Colgate and supported by IDA,CDC aims to generate awareness about oral care and free dental check-ups for children under Bright Smiles & Bright Future Programme in more than 1,000 Indian towns and cities.
Underprivileged children are more likely to develop dental health problems, which can persist for much longer because their general health is poor, Often, underprivileged children have a poor diet, which means that they do not take in the minerals, vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and become stronger. They are vulnerable to illness because their immune systems are not fully developed.
IDA in an effort to reach the underprivileged children launched a training programme for Anganwadi workers. Anganwadi is a government sponsored child-care and mother-care center in India. It caters to children in the 0-6 age group. Dentists deputed by IDA will train Anganwadi workers about basics of oral hygiene in order to inculcate essential oral care habits in children.
Anganwadi workers are educated about the various oral diseases as IDA believes that these can be prevented through early detection and primary prevention. These trained workers ensure that a wider section of society is educated on basic oral hygiene , inculcate good oral hygiene habits among underprivileged children by giving them lectures, slideshow presentation, brushing demonstration and question and answer sessions.
IDA is committed to improving the oral health of older adults. The dental oral care should be suitably tailored for the needs of the elderly. Painful teeth, ill- fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles trouble the elderly people. Natural changes in the gums and bone cause ill- fitting dentures which irritate the gums, tongue and cheeks. There may be loss in the inclination to eat as there is change of smell and taste. Hence, diets lack calcium, protein and other nutrients.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include a constant sore throat, burning sensation, problems in speaking, difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness or dry nasal passages. Left untreated, dry mouth damages teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate the mouth, wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive cavities form.
These problems need to be addressed by the dentist and IDA creates awareness to address these problems because research links periodontal disease and other chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, aspiration pneumonia and complications from diabetes.
Many barriers may interfere with providing older patients with dental care, including severe dental complexity, multiple medical conditions, diminished functional status, loss of independence, uninformed attitudes about dental care in old age and limited finances. IDA aims to surmount these barriers by education, clinical programmes and legislative advocacy.