Bengaluru: Dental experts lament that there is little awareness among the people about various dental ailments, many of which actually can be prevented through timely check-ups.
"Close to 40% of the population suffers from severe form of dental diseases and they are mostly BPL patients and hail from rural areas," said Dr Parimala A.K., Deputy Director, Oral health policy and Dental Health, Karnataka Health and Family Services.
She pointed out that almost 90% can be screened by a simple dental examination. “Gum diseases, dental quarries, oral mucocutaneous lesions, habit associated lesions and also precancerous lesions of oral mucosa (in which the doctor asks for biopsy after the screening). But, still very few people get their mouth examined or screened," she added.
Sadly, the State is yet to focus on prevention by generating awareness and regular screenings. "We only have the Danta Bhagya Scheme under 10,000 people have registered and close to 8,000 have been provided dentures. All those above 45 years and belonging to the BPL category and lower income category can avail the scheme," she said.
The scheme is being implemented in partnership with 45 dental colleges and 5 district hospitals. "Also, under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) scheme we are evaluating the dental health of school children aged 5 to 17 years."
However for the major chunk of productive age group there is little coverage or screening drives.
Stressing on the need for oral health and timely examination, Dr Parimala said, “Oral diseases are major burdens and public health challenges for almost all countries globally and they urgently need to be prioritized and addressed.”
Oral diseases affect 3.9 billion people worldwide, with untreated tooth decay alone impacting almost half of the world’s population (44%). The burden of oral disease is further compounded by its associated co-morbidities with other non- communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, gastrointestinal and pancreatic cancers."
Dr K.K. Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) said, “Oral hygiene is extremely essential. Dental health is often ignored by many people. One should not ignore warning signs and visit a dentist as soon as possible. A dull toothache, which does not subside, bleeding gums, and sensitivity to certain eatables are signs that should not be ignored."