Aiming at good all-round oral hygiene, a new dental health centre will be set up in the national capital as part of a WHO-supported effort to educate children and their parents on how to prevent tooth decay, a health problem afflicting many.
"Good oral health is a fundamental element of good general health, yet the lack of access to oral care for underserved children has reached an epidemic," said Professor Raman Bedi, director of the Global Child Dental Health Taskforce and co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre and Kings College, London.
Speaking at a conference here Thursday, the India-born Bedi said the new oral health centre is being established by Colgate-Palmolive India as part of the WHO supported Global Child Dental Health Taskforce. It aims to eradicate tooth decay in children by 2026.
The taskforce was launched in Britain in September last year. India is one of 10 countries participating in the first phase of the programme.
"This partnership with Colgate and its health promotion activities in India and around the world will play a vital role in helping to reach our goals," said Bedi.
Bedi, who was chief dental officer in England from October 2002-October 2005, sought support from dental health leaders in the country to help eradicate dental caries in children.
The new centre will provide critically needed preventive dental services, conduct education training for local dental health professionals and distribute one million dental health packs containing a toothpaste and a toothbrush over five years.
Bedi said: "We will link up with other taskforce around the world to share experiences and good practice so that in the next 20 years children in India should not have to experience dental decay."
He is in India to co-chair the first meeting of the national taskforce.
Roger Calmeyer, managing director of Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd, said: "It has been established that teaching oral health skills at an early age may impact oral hygiene habits for a lifetime."
According to a national oral health survey in India supported by Colgate, tooth decay is widespread among 54 percent of 12 year olds, and 63 percent among 15 year olds. Gum diseases are prevalent in 57 percent of 12 year olds and 68 percent of 15 year olds.