Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 4, 2007

Only 6% of Malaysian adults making use of public dental services

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:03 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: While masses of schoolchildren are getting teeth checked by Health Ministry officers, only less than six percent of Malaysian adults are making use of public oral healthcare services.
And a survey by the ministry carried out in 2000 revealed that only 25.2% of adults had a dental check in the past year while only 15.3% had their check in the past one to two years.
“An annual oral health examination is important if promotion of wellness is our concern,” said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek in his speech on Tuesday to launch the Colgate-Palmolive and Malaysian Dental Association (MDA) “Oral Health Month”.
His speech was read out by the ministry’s oral health director Datin Dr Norain Abu Talib.
He said that in 2005, the ministry’s school dental services provided oral examinatons to 95.2% (2.9 million) of primary school children and 62.7% (1.3 million) of secondary school children.
Only an estimated 5.8% of adults used public oral healthcare services two years ago.
Dr Chua added that more needed to be done to ensure continuity of care from childhood to adult.
“We need to step up efforts for improvement in periodontal health and early detection of oral cancer in the adult and elderly population,” he said.
He added that the ministry was also providing oral health training for teachers in teacher training institutions, pre-school teachers and childcare providers undergoing basic childcare provider course.
MDA president Dr Wong Foot Meow said in his speech that oral health is a necessary part of overall health although it is often neglected.
He added it had been closely linked with diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
He added that nine out of 10 Malaysians had cavities, where tooth decay was heavily influenced by one’s lifestyle.
Dr Wong told a press conference later that a reason why individuals were reluctant to visit the dentist was because they associated treatment with pain even while knowing that it was good for them.
During the month, free dental check-ups are being carried out in about 430 participating dental clinics, dental stations at road show events at shopping malls.

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