Chief Dental Officer, National Oral Health Directorate
Attended: 
SDL-1 (2007)

Dr Johan Smit was born in the Karoo in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. He matriculated in Pretoria (Capital City of South Africa). He did one year's compulsory military training with Medical Health Services, and after basic training was posted to their Head Quarters in Pretoria.

He went to the University of Pretoria (UP) to study dentistry and after qualifying in midyear 1975 (course 5 & 1/2 years) he worked part time with the then Transvaal Provincial Administration (TPA).

Dr Smit practiced in the private sector in the UK during 1976 until end February 1977, then returned to South Africa and again worked with the TPA.

In August 1977 he was promoted to Head of Oral Health in one of the four regions of TPA. He studied part time at the UP and received post graduate qualifications in Public Dentistry, and Public Health Administration. In January 1983 he was appointed as the Head of Oral Health Prevention and Promotion at the National Department of Health. He became the Chief Dental Officer of South Africa on 1 May 1991, the position still held.

Has served on a number of national committees and statutory councils. Is a member of the South African Dental Association and registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Has attended numerous international and national dental congresses and was also a presenter at a number of these congresses.

Loves riding a mountain bike and gardening as well as servicing vehicles.

Two recommendations to individuals entering the dental profession:

1. Concentrate on primary preventive measures as the most prominent chronic endemic oral diseases namely dental decay and periodontal diseases (gingivitis and periodontitis) are preventable.

2 In clinical service delivery always treat patients with dignity as if they are close family like your mother, farther, sister or brother.