International affairs

    World Dental Federation

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    Last reviewed: 12/08/2013
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    Last updated: 12/08/2013

    The FDI is a federation of dental associations from all over the world. It holds business meetings and a scientific congress and trade show in a different member state each year. At general assembly and council meetings, representatives discuss matters of international oral health policy and research and finalise policy statements.

    The FDI’s main objective is to improve the oral health of people all over the world. It does so by funding initiatives in developing countries to raise awareness of dental issues. In the past few years or so, its Live. Learn. Laugh. initiative has been a great success. In co-operation with Unilever, the programme provides funding and support for local oral health projects in developing countries. Its website is www.fdiworldental.org .


    The FDI was instrumental in the inclusion of dentistry on the agenda of the WHO annual meeting, the World Health Assembly (WHA). The WHA adopted an action plan on oral health in May 2007. The document Oral health: action plan for promotion and integrated disease prevention urges all governments to provide at least basic oral healthcare for all people. Both the FDI and WHO have vowed technical support for countries where the implementation of the recommendations proves difficult.

    In 2008, the BDA's Chair of the Representative Body, Stuart Johnston, was elected to the FDI's General Practice Committee, which looks at quality of care and training standards, practice management, workforce, ethics and dental legislation, and technology. He was re-elected in 2011 and has since taken over the chair of the committee. In addition, he has headed the FDI Dental Amalgam Task Team (DATT) that participated at the negotiations for a globally-binding mercury treaty, which was successful in ensuring a phase-down rather than complete ban of the use of amalgam. More information on the treaty is available here.

    The FDI has also produced a document on consideratons for future global oral health strategy with its Vision 2020 document, also available on the website.

    FDI Congress

    The BDA sends delegates to the FDI Parliament; the delegates for 2013 will be Susie Sanderson, Stuart Johnston, Martin Fallowfield, and the President Barry McGonigle.  

    The general assembly ratifies policy statements, debates international issues, and elects Council and committee members. Committees include education, dental practice, science, and world dental development. The next Congress will take place in August 2013. For more information, see the FDI website and follow the link to ‘Current Congress’.

    FDI European Regional Association (ERO)

    The BDA also is a member of the FDI’s European Regional Association which concerns itself with the issues affecting Europe-based dentists. The ERO works on policy issues through a number of working groups and meets twice a year, once at the FDI Congress, and once in a member state. It also produces a regular newsletter. Its website is www.erodental.org.