7 million Pinoys have never seen a dentist: report

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2016 06:26 PM

A girl gets her tooth extracted during a medical mission. Photo by Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Around seven million Filipinos or 7% of the country's population have never been to a dentist, according to a report released Tuesday.

This despite the fact that 98% percent of Filipinos were found to have dental caries, ranging from permanent stains to actual tooth decay.

According to Dr. Danny Magtanong of the Philippine Prosthodontic Society, a family’s social status plays a huge part on one's decision to visit the dentist.

"Most of this 7 million is composed, in fact, of families in the lower income bracket. A huge part of this is the misconception that going to the dentist is expensive," he explained.

According to the study undertaken by Ipsos Marketing for GlaxoSmithKline in 2014, around 9 million Filipinos wear dentures -- the highest incidence of denture wearing in Asia.

“Since 1995, the incidence of dental caries is as high as 98% and it has not gone down since. This lack in improvement is an indication that the government, and the dental profession in general, are not doing its job, but everyone is trying,” Magtanong added.

He also reminded Filipinos, especially denture wearers, to develop a dental care regimen, which includes visiting a dentist at least twice a year.

“Even denture wearers can be prone to not visiting their dentist even if their dentures need to be readjusted. Many insist on using home remedies such as rewiring their dentures or using instant glues to fix issues with their dentures instead of coming to
their dentist’s clinic. Due to laziness and the misconception that it will be more expensive, they are prone to trying to solve their own denture issues," Magtanong noted.

"However, this wears out the dentures, as well as causes health issues such as mouth ulcers, excess gas in the stomach, and worn­out gums," he warned.