Stronger the rungs of ladder of health simpler the ascent - GulfToday

Stronger the rungs of ladder of health simpler the ascent


Oral health and hygiene impact on over-all health.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Oral health and hygiene should be embedded within the rungs of public health.

This is from the 36-page “Global Oral Health Status Report — Towards Universal Health Coverage for Oral Health by 2030” of the World Health Organisation — Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR),” re-published last March 4 over the United Nations’ agency website.

From the UAE, Prime Medical Center (Al Barari) Orthodontics specialist Dr. Sanjay Kumar Jyothish and NMC Speciality Hospital-Dental Department head/Orthodontics specialist Dr. Pardeep Chandra Shetty enumerated the most prevalent oral and dental problems they have recorded among their patients in the past five years.

On the residents’ behaviour regarding regular dental check-ups, CosmeSurge (Al Ain) General dentist Dr. Ameera Kaplan said: “People have become increasingly educated about the repercussions of neglecting their oral health. They have been in discussions about treatment plans with their healthcare providers.”

Gulf Medical University (Ajman) Doctor of Dental Medicine graduate Jyothish emphasised: “Neglecting dental care can lead to greater financial and health costs compared to undergoing timely dental treatment.”

He added: “Over the past five years, there has been a positive attitude towards dental check-ups. (The Novel Coronavirus led people) to pay more attention to their over-all health. However, there are a significant number of others who still avoid dental visits due to fear, financial concerns, or lack of awareness about the importance of preventive care.”

Twenty-six years in the field, once Dentistry professor Shetty who took up post-graduate studies and specialised courses in South Korea, USA and India, noted that people have become more conscientious: “(This is) driven by increased awareness of preventive care and advancements in dentistry. However, cost concerns, fear, and time constraints remain barriers to some individuals. Efforts to address these barriers and (emphasis on) the importance of oral health are essential for encouraging people to prioritise regular dental visits.”

The three were consulted because March 20 is “World Oral Health Day.”

Meanwhile, the WHO-EMR Office Report, originally printed in 2022, noted that as of 2019, 330 million of the 700 million inhabitants of the UAE, Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Qatar, Sudan, Somalia, Oman, Morocco, Djibouti, Yemen, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Iran, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, and Iraq, had been burdened with high incidences of “oral diseases.”

The report stated that “nine countries did not have a national oral health policy (and) eleven countries have not implemented a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.” Case studies had demonstrated that “toothpaste was unaffordable in Egypt and Jordan, and affordable in Lebanon.”

According to the report, expensive oral and dental care “is often associated with high-out-of-pocket expenditures because private practitioners predominantly provide the services which are usually only partially or not at all covered by government programmes and/or insurance schemes.” Severely affected are the over-all health of the low to middle-income earners.

The top three oral health issues in Jyothish’s and Shetty’s files, since 2020, are mis-aligned teeth or bite, gum diseases namely gingivitis and periodontitis, and dental cavities.

Shetty said: “Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease which may contribute to heart problems like heart disease and stroke due to bacterial spread. Oral bacteria from gum disease can (go inside) the lungs increasing the risk of respiratory infections like pneumonia. Weak jawbones due to osteoporosis or tooth loss can affect oral health while poor oral health may accelerate bone loss.”

University of Sharjah Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree holder Kaplan said: “Diabetic patients are more susceptible to (gum diseases) and have earlier onset than the non-diabetics. Diabetic patients with (gum complications) have more difficulty in controlling their blood sugar levels which worsens even more their condition. People with obesity have multiple oral health complications such as increased risk for caries, (inflamed gums) and (dry mouth). The entry of oral microorganisms may cause the (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart valves.)”

On the 2024 theme “A Happy Mouth is a Happy Body,” Jyothish commented that while oral health is webbed with one’s over-all well-being as “dental issues can affect (the entire body), promoting a healthy mouth means we contribute to a happier and healthier body.”




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