Around 7 million Filipinos, or seven percent of the country’s total population, have never been to a dentist, according to a study by a research and marketing firm.
For those who have seen one, majority admitted to consulting only when the pain becomes too difficult to bear, according to Ipsos.
“Regular dentist consultations are important in developing correct oral healthcare practices. Unfortunately, such behavior is limitedly seen in the country, where millions of patients do not seek professional advice,” said
Dr. Danny Magtanong, vice president of the Philippine Prosthodontic Society (PPS), in an interview with NewsCentral.PH on the side of the media launch of Glaxo Smith Kline’s Polident denture cream on Monday, June 20.
According to the same study, this behavior among Filipinos is the top reason behind the nine million wearing dentures in the Philippines, the highest number in Asia.
“I would say that the number of denture wearers really increased through the years due
to high incidence of caries in the country. Many Filipinos have damaged teeth,” said Dr. Magtanong.
For denture wearers, dental visits are even fewer and further between. Most denture wearers think that oral health care ends at the final fitting of their dentures and that consulting their dentists again is not necessary, he said.
The PPS official added that most denture wearers did not understand that acquiring dentures entailed responsibilities.
“Denture wearers must visit their dentists at least twice a year and they must develop a regimen that they will strictly follow to make sure they do not go through the common problems that arise from improper denture care,” said Dr. Magtanong.
Some denture wearers tend to skip visiting their dentist even if their dentures needed to be readjusted.
Many insist on using home remedies such as rewiring their dentures or using quick fixes such as glue, instead of coming to the dentist’s clinic, added Dr. Magtanong.
“Due to laziness and the misconception that it will be more expensive, they are prone to trying to solve their own denture issues.”
However, Magtanong said this would “wear out the dentures, as well as cause health issues such as mouth ulcers, excess gas in the stomach, and worn-out gums”.
The PPS through partnerships with private organizations hopes to bring denture consultations closer to Filipinos to promote proper denture care.