Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 187  

Healthy smile: The fuel for fitness

President, Indian Society of Periodontology, Principal, Professor and Head of Department of Periodontology, Mahe Institute of Dental Sciences, Mahe, Puducherry, India

Date of Web Publication2-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Anil Melath
President, Indian Society of Periodontology, Principal, Professor and Head of Department of Periodontology, Mahe Institute of Dental Sciences, Mahe, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jisp.jisp_179_19

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How to cite this article:
Melath A. Healthy smile: The fuel for fitness. J Indian Soc Periodontol 2019;23:187

How to cite this URL:
Melath A. Healthy smile: The fuel for fitness. J Indian Soc Periodontol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Aug 13];23:187. Available from:

India is a country that suffers a lot of divergence, especially in terms of oral health. Statistics reveal that majority of the rural population in India are oblivious to the importance of oral health and its impact on general health. The prevalence of periodontitis in India is rising at an alarming rate and is also exerting serious implications on general health. Periodontitis, which was once considered as an inevitable sign of aging is now considered as a complex multifactorial disease with many risk factors. It has also been considered as a critical risk factor for many systemic diseases in the recent years.

This inter relationship between oral health and systemic health dates back to the early 19th century when focal infection theory was put forward. It reemerged in the late 19th century when researches gave a scientific basis for the link between oral and systemic interrelationship. Unfortunately, as of today many medical practitioners and the general public are still unaware of this inter relationship

Even though there has been a monumental progress in corroborating the plausibility of oral disease as a cause of systemic diseases, very few measures have been taken to integrate oral health care measures into public-health systems. The failure to accept dental care as an integral part of general systemic health care curbs all attempts made at closing the gap between oral and systemic health.

It is indeed sad to note that amongst several health coverage gains, oral health is often ignored. Most medical insurance companies and many private plans exclude dental care, thus limiting their access to the economically downtrodden section of our country. Medical practitioners treat hundreds of healthy people with expensive medications for years to prevent one cardiovascular event, but we have not made it possible to help people actively suffering with dental decay and pain. Nor are the people willing to spend money on dental health.

Individual providers, health systems, and communities each play a critical role in prioritizing oral health integrated medical care for all community members. An increased awareness among the physicians about periodontal medicine and its impact on systemic health is the need of the hour, to provide proper education and guidance to the public regarding the same. This necessitates the need for all medical students to have fixed dental postings during their courseperiod so that they have an extensive training and knowledge in periodontal health. This will enable them to rightly counsel the patients from the beginning and help contribute to the oral health maintenance.

To conclude, it is vital that the medical practitioners acknowledge the importance of oral diseases & their impact on systemic health & integrate oral preventive programs in the general public health system and also educate the public for the same.

On this note I would like to invite you all to the ISP National PG convention to be held in Jaipur in April. I look forward to many more fruitful, interactive and invigorating sessions at the convention. Hoping to see you all there.


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