A declaration by the world's dentists meeting in Istanbul calls upon national, regional and global health leaders "to recognize oral health as an essential component of global health and promote a reinforced inter-professional collaborative approach in the development of global and national policies".
The 'Istanbul Declaration' was unveiled to the public on 27 August 2013 by the General Assembly of FDI World Dental Federation, meeting in advance of the 101st Annual World Dental Congress, held in Istanbul from 28 to 31 August 2013.
The 'Declaration' strongly defends oral health as a fundamental human right and an integrated part of general health and well-being. It further calls upon "FDI and its member associations to support a broadened scope of practice for dentists and underline the need for dentists to expand their role and responsibilities for improving the general health and well-being of the community they serve".
A tool to raise awareness
"Oral disease is not, in most cases, a life and death issue," said FDI President Dr Tin Chun Wong. "However, this should not blind us to the fact that toothache equals pain, can mean time off work or school or loss in self-confidence or have other deleterious effects on daily life."
"That is why it is important for governments worldwide to be aware of oral health and take measures to improve the oral health of their national populations. With the Istanbul Declaration, we now have a tool to impress upon health leaders and policy makers the urgent need to recognize oral health as an essential component of global health; and, to promote a reinforced interprofessional collaborative approach in the development of global and national policies."
Proud of Istanbul Declaration
"I, my colleagues at the Turkish Dental Association (TDA, as well as dentists throughout Turkey are particularly proud that we were able to issue an Istanbul Declaration during the course of the FDI 2013 Annual World Dental Congress," added TDA President Prof Taner Yucel, "It is an important document that should be widely disseminated among our colleagues in other medical professions and health policy makers."
"I'm sure I join with many of my national and international colleagues in saying I personally believe strongly in the principles and call to action laid down in the Istanbul Declaration," concluded Prof Yucel.
FDI World Dental Federation serves as the principal representative body for over one million dentists worldwide. Its membership includes approximately 200 national member associations and specialist groups from well over 130 countries. The FDI Annual World Dental Congress, held every year in different locations around the world, provides a unique opportunity for professionals and all other sectors related to oral healthcare to meet and learn from one another. FDI's vision: 'leading the world to optimal oral health'.