The Common Oral Mouth Diseases and Current Oral Health Condition among Children in the Philippines

Oral health has been a long standing issue in the Philippines. Despite the efforts of the Department of Health to promulgate the importance of oral health care, many Filipinos still do not see oral health as a priority. Seven out of ten Filipinos have never been to a dentist, and about 92.4% of the population has tooth decay. The case of dental health among the children is far worse. According to the 2006 National Oral Health Survey, 97.1% of six-year-old children in public elementary schools suffer from tooth decay. This is quite a vexing statistic that could hurt the reputation of every pediatric dentist anywhere in Manila.

Pediatric dentists dedicate their work to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. They also have the experience and qualifications to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood. Thirty-three percent of the total population of the Philippines are kids ages 15 and below. According to the Philippine Statistics in 2010, Manila has a total population 1.652 million. Taking 33% of that would mean that there are 545,160 children. And to cater to the dental needs of these children, we would need 54,516 Pediatric dentists in Manila alone if we are to follow a one dentist to ten children ratio. What’s even more alarming is that even in some big public schools even a school nurse is not present.

With not so much data available about the current state of oral health in the Philippines, we can only make smart guesses of the possible dental diseases that children in public schools have.

Tooth Decay 

Tooth Decay is the deconstruction of your tooth enamel--the hard, outer layer of your teeth. Tooth decay is not just a common problem for children but can also be observed among adolescents and teens. If not treated correctly, tooth decay may lead to tooth loss.

Tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity or dentin hypersensitivity affects up to 57% of the total population. Dentin hypersensitivity occurs when the enamel that protects our teeth gets thinner, or when gum recession occurs, exposing the underlying surface. This reduces the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root. If hot or cold, sweet or very acidic foods and drinks, or breathing in cold air, makes your teeth or a tooth sensitive or painful then you may have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can come and go over time.

Bad breath 

Bad breath or halitosis, is characterized by an unpleasant odor of the mouth. Causes of bad breath are food, tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, health problems, dry mouth, mouth infections, dental problems, or medications.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults but can also occur among children. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it.

Most tooth problems and concerns are common and many are not that serious. But what’s alarming about these mouth problems is that it can be a hindrance in the learning process and development of the students. That is why it is important that children knows proper healthcare as an alternative to the dire need of pediatric dentists among schools.

james abram

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