February is the National Oral Health Month.
Oral disease continues to be a serious public health problem in the Philippines. The prevalence of dental caries on permanent teeth has generally remained above 90% throughout the years. About 92.4% of Filipinos have tooth decay (dental caries) and 78% have gum diseases (periodontal diseases). Although preventable, these diseases affect almost every Filipino at one point or another in his or her lifetime.
The oral health status of Filipino children is alarming. The 2006 National Oral Health Survey (Monse B. et al, NOHS 2006) investigated the oral health status of Philippine public elementary school students. It revealed that 97.1% of six-year-old children suffer from tooth decay. More than four out of every five children of this subgroup manifested symptoms of dentinogenic infection. In addition, 78.4% of twelve-year-old children suffer from dental caries and 49.7% of the same age group manifested symptoms of dentinogenic infections.
The prevalence of oral disease varies by geographical region, and availability and accessibility of oral health services. Social determinants in oral health are also very strong. The prevalence of oral diseases is increasing in low- and middle-income countries, and in all countries, the oral disease burden is significantly higher among poor and disadvantaged population groups.
What Are Some Common causes?
- Unhealthy diet
- Tobacco use
- Harmful alcohol intake
The following are some simple steps that can help prevent oral diseases.
- Decrease sugar intake and eat a healthy diet
- Stop tobacco use and decrease alcohol consumption
- Brush your teeth at least twice DAILY
- Floss DAILY
- Rinse DAILY
- Visit the dentist TWICE a year
Oral health is essential to general health and quality of life. It is a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial well-being.
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