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International Affairs

​The BDA has international involvement on a European and a world-wide scale to make sure that the profession’s voice is heard outside the UK. There are a number of international groups representing different areas of interest. The BDA currently is a member of the Council of European Dentists (CED), the International Dental Federation (FDI) and its European Regional Organisation (ERO), the Commonwealth Dental Association (CDA) and the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Through its international involvement, the BDA promotes the interests of the profession and takes a lead where appropriate. This has been particularly important at EU level, where decisions will impact on the practice of dentistry in the UK. Meeting with colleagues from other countries helps inform our strategic thinking, share experiences and team up, where appropriate, with other similar organisations for co-operation. We are also pleased to be involved in activities that contribute to the advancement of health in developing countries. The world is becoming an ever-smaller place, and close co-operation with our peers in other countries is beneficial and inevitable.


​Council of European Dentists

The CED is a not-for-profit association with representatives from all EU dental associations, representing the interests of over 300,000 dentists across Europe at EU level. The Council meets twice a year, once in Brussels and once in a member country, to discuss EU policies with implications for regulation, health service provision in general and dental services in particular. The CED's main objectives are to develop policies to ensure high standards of oral health and promote the interests of the dental profession in the EU.

The main CED meetings are generally held in May and November of each year. Each country sends representatives to discuss issues that have a bearing on the dental profession. The CED has provided extensive feedback to the Commission on the modernisation of the professional qualifications directive and continues to do so as this legislation moves forward. It has also provided detailed comment on the recasting of the medical devices legislation, and the considerations for changes to the data protection regulations. It also contributes to EU working groups on patient safety issues, workforce considerations, and e-health developments.


Dental amalgam and tooth whitening

The BDA has taken a strong lead in these two CED work streams over the past years. Susie Sanderson, previously member of PEC and before then the Chair of the Executive Board, has been chairing a working group on amalgam and alternative restorative materials. Stuart Johnston, BDA President in 2016/17 and previously PEC member and the Chair of Representative Body, led the tooth whitening working group until a couple of years ago and still contributes to their work.

The WG Amalgam and Other Restorative Materials has been instrumental in discussing with the EU Commission the approach to the considerations for a phase-down of the use of amalgam. The WG has also worked closely with the FDI, which participated at the negotiating table of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a global mercury treaty. The FDI team to these meetings was led by Stuart Johnston. The treaty was finalised in January 2013 and was ratified in 2014. Between 2014-17, the EU developed its own Mercury Regulation which has been transposed into UK law and for which detailed UK guidance is in development. Information is available in the 'amalgam' section of this website.

Other policy issues

Other policy issues within which the CED has been active include the improvement of the professional qualifications directive, proposals for changes to the regulation of medical devices and of data protection, and the tobacco products directive. It monitors very closely any activities of the EU that will affect health in general and dentistry in particular, and is very active in raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance issues.


The CED publishes the EU Manual of Dental Practice at regular intervals. This contains information on the dental systems in all EU member states, including training, regulation, insurance, and dental care professionals. The latest version was published in 2014/15. The CED has also published a code of ethics and circulates regular information updates on EU issues and activities (see below). For further information, visit Council of European Dentists.

Latest updates

See CED website for latest updates on CED activities reports.


International Affairs Committee

The IAC steers the BDA’s policy in international matters and makes recommendations to the Principal Executive Committee (PEC). The IAC meets two to three times a year to discuss policy issues and guide and prepare its delegates for future international meetings.

The IAC is chaired by Victor Chan and members are Mick Armstrong, Eddie Crouch, Susie Sanderson, Alison Lockyer, Peter Ward, Damien Walmsley and Anthony Kravitz of the Commonwealth Dental Association. The BDA President and President-Elect also attend, and representation from the YDC is currently being sought.


International Standards Organisation

The BDA has representation on a number of technical committees of the British Standards Institution (BSI) who in turn may have involvement in meetings of the ISO about dental instruments or materials. Although often not as high-profile as some of the other meetings, the work that these representatives do is very important in ensuring the safety of the products that are used in the UK and the rest of the world. BDA representatives report back to the BDA’s Health and Science Committee once a year or more often if necessary.


The Commonwealth Dental Association

The CDA is an association of Commonwealth dental associations with the purpose of "improving oral health in Commonwealth countries by raising the skills of practitioners and increasing awareness of oral health".

The CDA holds a biennial meeting, often linked with a workshop, conducts surveys and publishes a newsletter. It has also arranged many workshops for dentists in developing countries over the years. The BDA supports the CDA in relation to political, ethical and educational issues. BDA members Anthony Kravitz and John Hunt have longstanding commitments to the CDA. Anthony Kravitz was the Treasurer for three terms and thereafter its President 2015-17. PEC member Russ Ladwa is the CDA Vice President for the European Region.

The CDA's latest full meeting was held in August 2017 on the fringes of the FDI Congress in Madrid, Spain. The Indian Dental Association holds the secretariat of the organisation.

The CDA is a member of the Commonwealth Health Professions Alliance (CHPA) which was launched in March 2009. The aim of this alliance is to streamline the activities of the health professions, particularly with regard to influencing the scene of health politics in the Commonwealth. For this purpose, the CHPA has conducted a number of surveys over the years which were provided to the Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meetings in 2009 and 2010.


World Dental Federation

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.

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 took over the chair of the committee. In addition, he 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.

In 2017, Susie Sanderson was elected to the position of Speaker of the General Assembly. The role is first and foremost a governance role and involves ensuring that the views of the assembly are represented at Council and Executive level. The General Assembly is the supreme legislative and governing body of the FDI, which brings together the worldwide dental profession to provide one voice for dentistry in addressing the international challenge of improving global oral health.

The FDI website provides a number of resources including its Vision 2020 document, an Oral Health Atlas, as well as a number of White Papers, toolkits and other advocacy tools.

Each year, the FDI's Science Committee considers policy statements for adoption during the Congress. These cover a wide range of themes, including clinical and advocacy issues. Members of the FDI are consulted and the BDA, usually via its Health and Science Committee and International Affairs Committee, provides input every year.

FDI Congress

The BDA sends delegates to the FDI Parliament; the delegates for 2018 will be Mick Armstrong, Victor Chan and Susie Sanderson.

The general assembly ratifies policy statements, debates international issues, and elects Council and committee members. Committees include education, dental practice, science, public health, and communication. The next Congress will take place in September 2019 in San Francisco.

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.


For more information, email Ulrike Matthesius or call 020 7563 4133.