Dr. Idaline John Chief Dental OfficerThe results of a 2015/2016 Oral Health Survey conducted by the Oral Health Department of the Ministry of Health have shown significant amounts of dental problems among the age groups surveyed. The survey conducted among children ages 6, 12 and 15 years; adolescents 16 to 19 years; adults 35 to 44 years and 65 to 74 years scored the patients’ permanent teeth on Decayed, Missed and Filled Teeth (DMFT). The results of the survey, as announced by Chief Dental Officer Dr. Idaline John during the launch of Oral Health Week 2017 on Monday 15 May, showed that dental caries and gum disease is particularly severe on the island. Dental caries, according to Colgate.com, is the scientific term for tooth decay or cavities while gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. In children 6 years 55.6% had decay of which half of these untreated tooth decay, 1/3 of 12 year olds has dental carriers of which 31.3% had decayed teeth with almost all of them untreated and 58.8% of the 15 year olds had tooth decay with 47.6% being untreated. In adolescents 16 to 19 years, 63.1% or two thirds had dental caries and 48.6 had untreated lesions. Over 90% of adults 35 years had dental caries and about 65.8% had untreated lesions; 95.6% of the 65 to 74 year olds surveyed had dental caries and 65.9% had untreated lesions. “This indicates that as the age increases so does the incidence of cavities and missing teeth. This also reveals that once children have left the school dental programme, they don’t return for regular checkups until there is pain,” Chief Dr. John said.However she said although the results are disappointing is not surprising which is why they persevered to get the survey done to know the oral health status of the population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) oral health diseases are the fourth most expensive cause of global public health problems. Just over five billion people on the planet have suffered from dental caries, the most prevalent oral affliction.“We are encouraging our society to rethink the importance that has been placed on oral health and the impact it has on the quality of life of the individuals affected,” Dr John stated.She added that free treatment is provided by the Ministry of Health to the public for children zero to 18 years and adults 60 years and over along with all the other groups of persons entitled to cost free treatment.This she said “allows us to offer some lamentation on the situation we have before us”.“We also have a dedicated team of dental professionals devoting hours in promoting this information as well as providing you the people with the service. It is therefore not only lamentable but scary that oral health is not a priority for our people,” she stated.Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David JohnsonThe Chief Dental Officer said the challenge is great but their spirits are not daunted as a new action plan for combating caries in school children began in February 2017. This action plan will ensure that all Grade 6 students are caries free prior to entering secondary school and will be followed by students in the lower grades. A reintroduction of ‘The Fluoride on Wheels Programme’ in schools is also on the cards she said. “In order to succeed and achieve our goal, the participation of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, parents and the community on a whole is indispensable.”She also said that according to last year’s report, eleven thousand, six hundred and fifty-six (11,656) patients received dental treatment of which four thousand, two hundred and twelve (4,212) were children and seven thousand, four hundred and forty-seven (7,447) adults. Preventative procedures were also carried out as part of the compliance of the School Dental Programme for children zero to 18 years such as the application of fissure sealants and oral prophylaxis. “This is good, this is progress, but we can certainly do better,” Dr. John said. Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Johnson the Oral Health Survey was a “long and arduous journey”.Dr Johnson said some people felt it was a bit too ambitious to conduct a survey on such a wide cross section of the population, however Dr. John, who is at the helm, said the results will be used to develop and implement a comprehensive oral health plan for the general public.Dr. Johnson added that increased road traffic accidents, crime, injury, violence and physical abuse which result on maxillofacial injuries all negatively impact the oral health of the population. “This puts a strain on the resources of a dental health department and by extension the Ministry of Health to adequately manage these patients,” he said. Tweet Share Share HealthLocalNews Oral health survey shows prevalence in dental caries & gum disease by: Dominica Vibes News – May 15, 2017 143 Views no discussions Share Sharing is caring!