The Dental Unit of the Ministry of Health has expressed concern over the lack of proper dental care of Dominica’s population.
On Monday, 15th May, the Dental Health Unit launched Oral Health Week 2017, themed, ‘A Healthy Body Starts with A Healthy Mouth.’
Honourable Minister for Health, Dr Kenneth Darroux, informed that this year’s oral health week campaign focuses on adopting a good oral health routine and preventative dental care.
In keeping with the World Health Organization’s strategy, the Dental Unit has formulated an Oral Health Policy to enhance the quality of service that is being delivered to the public.
“The standard procedures manual was updated and a recent survey was conducted to obtain empirical data to develop and make the necessary changes to the existing programmes that will enhance the quality of care to the population. Dental decay and gum disease are among the most common among the children and adult population. However, with early detection and intervention dental caries and periodontal, which is gum disease, can either prevented or treated at a reduced cost,” the health minister remarked.
Chief Dental Officer, Dr Idaline John, detailed the statistics gathered during a national survey among children ages 6, 12, and 15; adolescents ages 16 to 19; adults ages 35 to 44 and 65 to 74.
She stated that findings from the survey revealed that oral disease particularly caries and gum disease is severe in Dominica.
The data also indicates that with the increase in age, incidents of cavities and missing teeth also increase.
“From the six year olds who participated in the survey, the score was DMFT, which is Decayed-Missed-Filled-Teeth, and the permanent ones were higher…55.6% had decay and half of these children had decayed teeth which were untreated. One-third of the 12 year olds had dental caries, of these 31.3% had decayed teeth, with almost all untreated; 58.8% of the 15 year olds had decayed and 47.6% were untreated; 63.1%, or two-thirds of the 16 to 19 [year olds] had dental caries and 48.6% had untreated lesions. Over 90% of our adults 35 years had dental caries and about 65.8 had untreated lesions. Ninety-five point six of those 65 to 74 had dental caries and 65.9% had untreated lesions.”