The Indian Dental Association, along with private dental colleges, should come up with a comprehensive policy to provide dental and oral health programme for the State, Minister for Information and Technology Poongothai Aladi Aruna said here on Sunday.

Inaugurating a continuing dental education programme for general dental practitioners at Balaji Dental Hospital, she urged dentists to spread themselves and become multi-faceted. She listed several problems that are caused by poor oral hygiene and the resultant infections. They cause pre-term labour in women and compromise the health of persons with diabetes and hypertension, putting them at a higher risk for infections, she said.

The changed lifestyles and food patterns had resulted in poor oral health in rural areas also, she said. “You have the primary responsibility of detecting oral cancers. Your training should develop a community-based, preventive approach,” she told the participating dental students.

Under the National Rural Health Mission, the State government had allotted Rs.4 crore for improving dental services in primary health centres, she said.

V. Rangarajan, secretary of IDA, Madras branch, said periodontics was a neglected specialty of dentistry. “In India gum-related diseases are on the rise. Poor health of gums causes bleeding and loss of teeth, leading to nutritional deficiencies, he said. Poor gum health is linked to heart and other systemic diseases even in infants,” he added.

President of the Indian Dental Association S.M.Balaji said the CDE programme would include clinical demonstration and update dentists on the recent research and treatment methods in dentistry. Dentist Anitha Balaji presented a report on the CDE programme.

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