The Japan Dental Association (JDA) was established in 1903, approx. 65,000 dentists in Japan are members of JDA.
The objective of JDA’s members is to “promote the health and welfare of the people of Japan by working to enhance the ethics of the dental profession, establish the national dental care, provide education on public health and dental health, and advance the development of dental science.
In line with this objective, for example, members set their own goals based on JDA Continuing Education program, and set themselves to studying and learning new aspects of dental science on a day-to-day basis. As another example, local dental associations cooperate with local governments and serve as the contact points, and have been playing the role of contributing to maternal and child health, school health projects and adult dental health promotion, through infant dental checkups, school dental checkups and periodontal disease screenings, etc.
One outcome of these steady efforts and contributions by members over many years is the fact that, in 1989, the average numbers of caries among 12-year-old children in Japan was more than 4, but in the fiscal year 2019, this figure dropped to 0.7. Also, in 1989, the 8020 Campaign, which calls upon citizens to “keep 20 teeth or more even at age 80,” was launched by the leadership of our association. At the start of this campaign, less than 10% of citizens had 20 teeth or more at age 80, but in 2016, this ratio rose more than 50%, and the campaign has thus achieved substantial results. In addition, recently, JDA has been studying the relationship between systemic health and dental health such as aspiration pneumonia, diabetes, dementia, stroke, cardiovascular disease, premature birth, low birth weight baby, etc. As such, we at JDA are striving to help “enabling all citizens, from infants to elderly people, to live with the joy of being able to chew and speak throughout their lives.”
The history of Japan’s public health insurance system goes back more than a century, and Japan has maintained its current world-class system, which is called a “Universal Health Insurance System,” for 60 years of this history. Nevertheless, in recent years, population aging and a declining birthrate have rapidly progressed, and the nation’s financial situation has been worsening. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult to maintain this valuable system that needs to be kept in place for the future. Given this critical situation, we are facing the question of how to build a society in which people can live in good health until the end of life. JDA has presented extensive data showing that the enhancement of dental care can contribute when it comes to this national issue of extending healthy life expectancy.
The Joint Meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy and the Committee on the Growth Strategy states, "We will provide the public with appropriate information on the evidence of the importance of oral health, including its relationship with the whole body, conduct lifelong dental checkups, enhance dental and oral health care by dentists and dental hygienists, which will lead to oral frail measures and prevention of serious diseases, promote cooperation among dental professionals, medical and dental institutions, nursing care institutions, and welfare institutions for the disabled. In addition, we will promote cooperation among dental professionals, medical, dental, nursing care, and welfare institutions for the disabled, and build and strengthen the dental health care delivery system, including securing human resources for dental hygienists and dental technicians and preventing droplet infection. In the future, we will promote the use of ICT in dentistry with an eye to the increase in the number of elderly people who need nursing care and other people who have difficulty receiving medical care.” This was clearly stated.
Now that the world is facing the simultaneous crisis of a new coronavirus infection, we will continue to contribute to overcoming the crisis and fulfill our roles and responsibilities as a member of healthcare providers in a super-aging society. We seek the understanding and support of the people with regard to the activities of the Japan Dental Association and its members.
Japan Dental Association