THE International Association for Dental Research is fostering global health inequalities to identify issues that hinder patients from having access to proper oral health care.
IADR president, Professor Mary Macdougall said this was a new initiative that the organisation was trying to look into.
"We are taking a more proactive approach to oral health so we are trying to prevent disease from happening rather than having patients lose their teeth due to dramatic disease and so identifying inequalities on access to oral health care is a critical issue," Prof Macdougall said.
She said one of the inequalities that they identified was the lesser presence of dentists in rural communities — an issue prevalent in the Pacific.
"Many graduates like to practice in the more populated area but the need isn't necessarily there especially here in the Pacific where you have a large number of smaller islands that are more remote.
"Really getting care to those populations is critical," she said.
Prof Macdougall highlighted diseases that were prevalent in some societies and related to oral health issues.
"We are looking at certain populations that are more susceptible to certain conditions like obesity, type 1 diabetes and that has been correlated with oral implications.
"The social economic situation is very critical, many people do not have the financial ability to even to buy oral care products like toothpaste and toothbrushes so that also can be an issue that affect oral care," said Prof Macdougall.
Prof Macdougall is part of a delegation of dental professionals who are in the country for the 52nd annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand division of the International Association for Dental Research at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau.