6 years ago on November 30, 2015
The Filipinos, being hospitable is the most common trait known to most foreigner who have travelled around the country. And true enough, whatever island you choose to visit in this archipelago of 7,107 islands, its residents will welcome you with warm smiles. Yet, they aren’t that perfect. In a nation full of cheerful smiles, its populace are plagued with a lot of oral diseases, and many of which are little, or in no way, being addressed. We may hold the record for being one of the most hospitable country in the world with the most charming smile, Filipinos however do have foul mouths.
Tooth decay and other dental health problems have remained the number one health curse for millions of Filipinos, and most of its victims are children. According to UP College of Dentistry (UPCD) Dean Vic Medina II, oral health is generally a neglected aspect of a person’s wellbeing. In the country, 20 percent of six-year-olds have complained of toothache and infection but were never brought to the dentist, adding that it is the same with the more than 87 million Filipinos suffering from tooth decay.
Many factors abound why proper oral health care is being neglected. Factors such as poverty, lack of time, education, and awareness all contribute to the growing prevalence of tooth decay. Cultural practices also contribute to the thriving tooth decay crisis. In the remote areas in the country, some people still use salt and water to clean their teeth. Some chew Apog (limestone powder) and Nganga (Betel Nut) as it strengthens the teeth, tightens the gums, and sweetens the breath. And in some areas, people even have others pull their teeth off. As a result, 9 out of 10 Filipinos suffer from tooth decay making the Philippines the second worst rate of decayed, missing and filled teeth in Asia.
So how are we to solve this to freshen the breath of our countrymen? Medina said oral health should be integrated into primary healthcare. There should also be an increase in financial support for dental health programs, upgrading of government facilities and equipment, and expansion of education focused on disease prevention and health promotion.
According to the FDI World Dental Federation, oral health is not only dental, it also includes the gums, hard and soft palate, linings of the mouth and throat, tongue, lips, salivary glands, chewing muscles, and upper and lower jaws. Good oral health enables people to speak, smile, kiss, breathe, whistle, smell, taste, drink, eat, bite, chew, swallow and express feelings. The oral cavity, in particular, plays a central role in basic nutrition and protection against bacterial infections.
In general, although tooth decay and gum diseases may not directly cause disability or death, however, these conditions can weaken bodily defenses and serves as portals of entry to other serious and potentially dangerous diseases and infections. These two oral diseases may cause disturbance of speech significant enough to affect work performance, nutrition, social interactions, income, and self-esteem making the Filipino not only having a foul mouth. We might also lose the title of being one of the most hospitable land in the world because we’re in a foul disposition.
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