Indian Journal of Dental Research

: 2018  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 404-

Indian Oral Health Inequalities

SM Balaji 
 Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Director and Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
S M Balaji
Executive Editor, Indian Journal of Dental Research, Director and Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Balaji Dental and Craniofacial Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Balaji S M. Indian Oral Health Inequalities.Indian J Dent Res 2018;29:404-404

How to cite this URL:
Balaji S M. Indian Oral Health Inequalities. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 May 25 ];29:404-404
Available from:

Full Text

The existence of inequalities in oral health-care delivery exists globally and India is no exception to the same. In a report in recent Lancet, the existence of such inequalities from late 16th century to present day has been highlighted.[1]

India suffers from a catastrophic oral disease burden.[2] While the burden is reportedly decreasing since 1990s, still a vast majority of Indians suffer from the preventable dental diseases – dental caries and periodontal diseases.[3] The existing inequalities in Indian dental care delivery, academia, and research have been previously reported.[4] However, the extent of the inequalities, factors that promote such inequalities, has always been least studied. This would be interesting, especially in a geographically and culturally diverse, pluralistic Indian society.

Existing study in this regard does point out that place of residence evolves as a significant parameter that promotes inequalities.[5] The study used a number of variables in terms of material and few psychosocial and behavioral factors using standardized, reliable and validated questionnaires. In spite of the number of variables studied, only the place of residence emerged as a critical factor that contributed to the oral health inequalities. The study has few limitations that need to be considered. As India needs such studies, the study has to be extended to include larger samples, possibly involving many centers, across various kinds of localities – urban, rural, semi-urban, deprived areas, urban slums, etc., and also a large number of psychosocial factors to identify the crucial factors that lead to inequalities. Such studies would greatly aid the oral health policy framers to address the inequalities, thereby mitigating the oral health burden in India.


1Watt RG. Teeth and inequality: From past to present. Lancet 2018;391:2406.
2Balaji SM. Burden of dental diseases in India as compared to South Asia: An insight. Indian J Dent Res 2018;29:374-7.
3Balaji SM. Economic impact of dental caries in India. Indian J Dent Res 2018;29:132.
4Balaji SM, Mathur VP. Dental practice, education and research in India. Oral health inequalities and health systems in Asia-Pacific. Natl India 2017;28:241. [Doi: 10.1038/nindia.2017.28].
5Mathur MR, Tsakos G, Millett C, Arora M, Watt R. Socioeconomic inequalities in dental caries and their determinants in adolescents in New Delhi, India. BMJ Open 2014;4:e006391.