An interactive portal was today launched by the government to raise awareness and educate the masses about the dental and oral health. On the World Oral Health day, the Health Ministry, which also launched Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material for raising awareness on the issue, said it was integrating oral health programme with other such schemes to minimise conditions arising from poor health. "Oral health is integral to the overall health of a person and contributes to the all-round development of the nation," Minister of State for Health Faggan Singh Kulaste said while launching the IEC material, the National Dental and Oral Health Information IVR portal and a toll free number for addressing oral health related queries. Kulaste said that India has taken huge strides in the health-care sector by initiating new programmes to improve the health outcome of the country and it is now among the nations that have dedicated programme on the oral health. "Raising awareness about dental health is the need of the hour and these information initiatives will go a long way in encouraging people to adopt positive and healthy habits," he said. Noting that oral diseases are becoming the leading health problems, Union Health Secretary C K Mishra said that these can be attributed mainly to rapidly changing lifestyles, wide- spread use of tobacco and increased consumption of alcohol. "The Ministry is integrating the oral health programme with other programmes so that adequate steps can be taken to mitigate and minimise the conditions arising from poor health. "We need to combine preventive measures with emphasis on the education to create oral health awareness among the various segment of the population," Mishra said, adding oral diseases pose a major threat to public health due to their prevalence and incidence.
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