In Japan, the Japan Dental Association and other private organizations have promoted dental health for many years. Activities for spreading the concept of dental hygiene have been conducted as part of educational movements and in 1928, June 4 was designated as Tooth Decay Prevention Day. While shelved during the Pacific War, these projects resumed in 1948. 1958 witnessed the institution of Dental Hygiene Week and every year since then it has been observed for one week June 4 to 10.
Since 1955, dental health programs for mothers and their children intended to prevent tooth decay have been conducted mainly in local public health centers, and include dental health guidance for expectant and nursing mothers, babies and toddlers, and dental health examinations for 18-month-olds and three-year-olds. 1983 marked the start of dental health measures for adults and the aged.
In 1989, a committee for studying dental health for adults took form, and in its interim report submitted in the same year, the group proposed an 80-20 movement aimed at encouraging to keep 20 or more of their own teeth until at the age of 80. 1992 saw the launching of programs to promote the 80-20 movement, with projects to support promotion of the movement initiated the following year.
Under the senior citizen health service plan, dental hygienists provided the bedridden with oral health guidance through personal visits, with periodontal disease examinations made.
2000 marked the introduction of special programs to further the 80-20 movement to firmly establish a system for the smooth promotion of dental health services.