IFDH President's Report:

December 2023

Leadership, Collaboration and Prevention:
Following our Mission!

Hello My Fellow Colleagues;

The fall of 2023 has been very busy and successful. Here, in eastern Canada, our leaves turn to bright shades of yellow, red and orange. The view is amazing and we become filled with a renewed sense of purpose after a relaxing summer.

HoD Interim Meeting

Our first Interim House of Delegate meeting was a great success. The overall response was that our members felt it was motivating and a worthwhile venture. I found it pumped me up when I started seeing all your faces again. Hearing the voices from so many countries and sharing your stories. I feel this will be a regular event in the future.

Global Oral Health Summit

We held the third in a series of Global Oral Health Summits on November 4th. The response surpassed our expectations and we received many accolades from the attendees. A very special thank you to our committee Loes Velthoven- Verlinden (chair), Mairi Heinonen, Elisabeth Gregersen, Hilde Aga, Corrie Jongbloed- Zoet, Jill Rethman and our Executive Director Peter Anas and staff.

We could not have realized our goal without our Platinum sponsor Haleon and Silver sponsors Colgate, Dentsply and P&G. Their support was truly appreciated.

I cannot admire our presenters more. Their Motivation, Inspiration and Guidance delivered a message that will assist our members in support of the WHO Action Plan to reduce oral disease by 2030 and join the journey to a sustainable future in oral health care.

Prevention is the Key to Success

As dental hygienists, our core is prevention and we know we can become the catalyst to ensure success in reducing oral health issues.

One major area of impact is government support of oral health and its recognition as a part of our overall health and subsequently a basic human right. As health care professionals, our voices are our tools and our body of knowledge supports the call to action.  We must require our governments to recognize access to oral care. During our Summit, our immediate past president, Corrie Jongbloed Zoet, laid out a path to prepare and execute a lobby plan for our members to move forward.

Another of our avenues is promotion of programs that teach teachers, community health workers, and parents to deliver oral health care instruction and advice. During our summit we heard from 4 programs that subscribe to this method and we know there are many more. These colleagues inspired us all to develop and deliver care in underdeveloped countries and in our own countries and communities.

Hearing from experts in sustainability we realized that all sectors of the health care industry have to come together to create a preventive environment that provides comprehensive health care with sustainability as a factor. Creating a circular economy is crucial to success through reducing, reusing and recycling. We cannot continue to contribute to the mismanagement of energy consumption, unlimited water use and uncontrolled waste production.

We, in the health care community, must come together and make a difference, not soon… not later…. Now!

The reduction of oral disease and a sustainable future relies on a prevention based clinical approach coupled with a multi sectoral, community based public health initiative. Prevention is the key to the reduction of oral disease and sustainability in oral health care.

My Global Journey

It is becoming cold here in Canada, and I know my Nordic friends are getting ready for winter as well, so I thought I would drop by before the snow flies.


The Finnish website is complete with topics regarding home care advice and support for their members. They operate as a trade union representing interests of dental hygienists in all matters related to working conditions, salary, practice, and education. Dental hygienists can practice independently in Finland and they receive support from their association.

The profession began in 1987 as a special dental nurse and has gone through many changes in education, governance and name to the title of Dental Hygienist today.

They held a successful Brush All of Finland Campaign on Oct. 14th this year. Which was also World Stop Tooth Decay Day. This year they cast special attention on the oral health of the elderly in Finland. They also included a webinar – way to go!

Our members in Finland are Virve and Mari and I want to wish them Hyvaa Joulua and I hope Joulupukki is good to them.


Our Norwegian colleagues are also an active group of prevention minded professionals. I was surprised to learn that 58% of dental hygienists in Norway work in the public sector with only 42% in private clinics. Of that 42% of private dental hygienists 25% are independent practitioners.

A visit to their website and with help from Google translate, for me, I saw their online access to information on diabetes and oral health, home care guidance, healthy vs non healthy gums, and much more. They also support the fight against tobacco use and offer links for people to receive help in quitting smoking.

I would like to offer our former member Hilde and our current member Anne Mai a Gledelig Jul with lots of risengrynsgrot and a visit from Sinter Klasse.


The Swedish Dental Hygienists will be 55 years as an association in 2024. Congratulations on that upcoming milestone! With over 3,500 members they are a strong promoter of oral health in Sweden. They work predominantly in the public service with 2,300 dental hygienists in that forum. There are 1,000 private clinic dental hygienists and over 200 work as independent practitioners.

A visit to their website will enlighten you on the many ways they support their members and the public. They publish a journal 6 times a year and a special edition of the International Journal of Dental Hygiene was released to commemorate their 50th anniversary.

Continuing with my holiday wishes I want to extend a God Jul to our departing member Yvonne and our current member and IFDH Vice President Fouzieh and I hope Tomte finds your home.


The association will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary in 2024. I wonder what festivities they have in mind?

The Danish hygienists provide numerous areas of member support from power point presentations to use to membership in a health cartel representing 8 professional organizations within health care.

Our Nordic members are all able to practice independently and Denmark completes the group. They also work in hospitals, clinics, and government child and youth oral care programs. They have an interesting poster for your waiting room that is like an advent calendar and each day it highlights the sugars in our holiday snacks 😊 Maybe that is why they can claim that more than 50% of their 15 year olds are cavity free… Prevention is the Key!

As I bring my mouse to a much-needed rest, I wish Elisabeth and Alice a God Jul and I hope Julemanden warms your home with the sweet scent of grod and some personal treasures.

In closing,

2023 has been a very good year at IFDH; we have realized many goals and we are looking forward to an exciting and purposeful 2024. I know not everyone celebrates the same way, but I do wish you all the very best with your personal celebrations and a New Year of Peace, Health and Happiness. Hoping to see as many of you as possible at ISDH 2024 in Seoul! Make your plans now.

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