When was the last time you went for a dental check-up?
Malaysians take visiting dentist too lightly. Most of us go to a dental clinic to seek treatment only when there is a problem. We need to change our mindsets and believe that prevention is better than cure, and regular dental visits are the key to achieving a healthier lifestyle. Oral care habits should be groomed from the very beginning, at a very young age of life, for example from school and at home.
Attaining and maintaining oral health requires the commitment of both self-care and professional care. Self-care is mentioned to daily care like brushing twice and flossing every night before sleep. Meanwhile visiting the dentist regularly for an oral check will help in maintaining the cleanliness of our teeth and also to prevent dental problems from developing. To put it in a nutshell, a complete care includes visiting a dentist for regular check-ups and maintaining good home care routine.
According to the National Oral Health Survey in 2010, only 27.4% of adults had a dental visit in the last one year. The most common reasons for not going to a dentist were cited as “no problem” (67.7%) and “too busy” (9.3%), while 32.9% of adults perceived a dental visit as a “fearful experience”. Based on a recent study conducted by the ministry of health in 2016, 9 in 10 Malaysian adults experience periodontal disease (gum and teeth supporting structures) and dental caries. 40-75% of school children had dental caries, 76% of five-year-olds had experienced dental caries and 7% of adults in Malaysia had lost all their natural teeth. These are some statical value of why public awareness on the importance of seeking dental care as a prevention measure has to be intensified.
Therefore we should be able to educate and encourage the younger ones to stop neglecting dental visits as part of their oral health care habits. Oral health awareness can be raised among kids by encouraging them to use an appropriate toothbrush, proper brushing techniques and also to start using floss on daily basis. Besides that, as a parent or guardian, we should encourage kids to attend dental activities conducted in school or other dental campaigns conducted.
Neglecting oral health can lead to oral diseases like periodontal diseases, dental caries, malocclusion, and oral cancer which are of major public health concern owing to their higher prevalence and their effects on the individual’s quality of life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), promotion of oral health is a cost-effective strategy to reduce oral disease and maintain oral health and quality of life. Therefore a large ratio of these diseases can be prevented at individual and community levels by providing oral health-related education. This will help improve oral health attitude and practices among the general population.
With that, it is crucial that Malaysians not take dental care too lightly and only think of the dentist when pain becomes unbearable. Preventive dental care has to be given more attention along with the focus on health education and promotion should be given prime importance.
About The Contributor
Dr. Yogesh is a diligent dentist at Dutamas Dental Clinic with 4 years of extensive experience in oral and maxillofacial surgery and paediatric dentistry. Dr. Yogesh initially spoke to us about nitrous oxide or The Laughing Gas to help with your anxiety. Since then, Dr. Yogesh has been our contributor by writing articles to help educate the public and spread awareness regarding dental health. Read her other articles here:
Dutamas Dental Clinic
A3-1-8, Publika, Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-6206 3554
Mobile: 019-244 0653