The South African Dental Association (SADA) wishes to express its strong concerns regarding the recent billboard erected by the Standard Bank of South Africa (SBSA) at the NAMPO event. SADA represents a majority of dentists and dental specialists practising in both the private and public sectors in South Africa, and it is with great alarm that we address the detrimental impact of this billboard on the oral health of South Africans.
The billboard in question, featuring the SBSA logo and tagline, bears a loosely translated Afrikaans message stating, “You perhaps need a dentist once a year. But you need a farmer three times a day.” SADA firmly believes that this message conveys an incorrect notion about dental needs and visits. It is misleading to suggest that individuals only require a dental visit once a year. We find this message not only distasteful to our profession but also potentially harmful to the oral health of the public.
SADA strongly advocates for personalized intervals between oral health reviews, taking into consideration individual patients’ disease risk factors. Factors such as a patient’s medical, social, and dietary history should be carefully assessed to determine the appropriate recall intervals, which can range from 3 to 24 months. It is essential for dentists and patients to engage in discussions to determine the most suitable recall interval for each individual, ensuring optimal oral health outcomes.
By promoting a blanket statement suggesting an annual dental visit is sufficient, the billboard may contribute to neglecting necessary examinations for dental caries. This negligence poses a significant risk to the oral health of individuals. SADA firmly believes that judgments regarding appropriate intervals for dental treatments should be made on an individual basis, tailored to meet each person’s unique oral health needs.
We kindly request an urgent response from SBSA, addressing our concerns and proposing a reasonable remedy to correct this message. It is crucial that any future messaging related to oral health be verified with SADA for accuracy. We also request that SBSA communicate the corrected message to NAMPO and its members, urging them to refrain from further distributing this erroneous information. Prompt action is necessary to ensure the well-being of the public and the credibility of oral healthcare information.
SADA looks forward to receiving a prompt and satisfactory response to this matter, from SBSA. Together, we can ensure accurate and responsible information about oral health.
The South African Dental Association (SADA) is the peak national body for the dental profession in South Africa representing the large majority of active registered dentists, both in the public and private sectors in South Africa. It is a non-profit professional association with voluntary membership organisation represented by a total of 11 branches, one in every province of the Republic of South Africa, with Gauteng and Eastern Cape provinces having two branches each. The Association represents the interests of both the oral health profession and its members in South Africa.
The Association is committed and engaged in processes relating to setting industry standards and formulating policies. Learn more about SADA at https://www.sada.co.za
About FDI World Dental Federation
FDI World Dental Federation serves as the principal representative body for over 1 million dentists worldwide. Its membership includes some 200 national dental associations and specialist groups in over 130 countries. FDI has the vision of leading the world to optimal oral health.
About World Oral Health Day
World Oral Health Day is an initiative of FDI World Dental Federation that is celebrated on 20 March every year and aims to empower people with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to secure good oral health.