The Philippine Dental Scene and How Parents Can Help Uplift It

According to studies, 98% of children aged three to five suffer from cavities in the Philippines. Meanwhile, records show that 20% of six-year-olds have never visited a pediatric dentist in Manila, and this holds especially true for those who live in far flung provinces.

The statistics above only shows how poor oral health is treated in the country. With the era of children being raised with bad eating and snacking habits and the apparent dismal rate of oral health care in the country, it is no wonder we rank as the next-to-worst in oral health care in the Western Pacific Region.

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This lack of proper dental care is alarming, as it means majority of the population is at risk of oral diseases. Although pediatric dentists in Manila and in the other parts of the country are making an effort to uplift the country’s present status, it will be futile if the citizens themselves won’t cooperate, especially the parents.

With that said, you as a parent should take the initiative to instill the value of good oral health care among your children. Teaching them about proper oral care won’t only prevent oral health problems such as cavities and gum diseases, but it can also help improve the country’s current dental state. To do this, you can begin with these simple tips in maintaining proper oral hygiene below:

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  • Keep a proper brushing habit. The American Dental Association guideline recommends that children below three years old should use a tiny smear (rice-grain-size) of fluoridated toothpaste and brush their teeth twice a day. On the other hand, children between three to six years old should use a pea-size amount of toothpaste to fight cavities while minimizing the risk of fluorosis.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Discourage your children from bad eating habits, like snacking on candies before sleep and excessive consumption of soda. An increase in intake of water is also highly recommended.
  • Make flossing a daily habit as it helps remove plaque from between the teeth and the gumline. Once plaque hardens, it will become tartar, which will require professional cleaning.
  • Take your child to the pediatric dentist for regular check-ups. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the first visit to a dentist should be scheduled when the first tooth appears, or before your child’s first birthday. Check-ups should also be done every six months to prevent cavities and other dental problems.

Taking actions, whether big or small, should save the country from the risks brought about by poor oral health care. Not only are the pediatric dentists responsible in bringing the improvement we want. Whether you live in Manila or in any other parts of the Philippines, you too can do something to raise the status of oral health care in the country and this change starts within the four corners of your home—with your family.

james abram

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