Top 3 Factors Why Oral Health is Seriously Neglected across India

Oral Health

When was the last time you went for a routine dental check-up? Well, most Indians would not be able to answer this question because they never really see a dentist until there are dental problems. While Indians are gradually waking up to the fact that overall health is important for a healthy lifestyle, they are as much as ignorant about the fact that dental health is an indicator of their overall health. Regular dental checkup can ensure healthy mouth and that also means healthy heart, mind and body. Millions of Indians fail to understand that their dental problems are not isolated and that is can affect other body organs through the blood stream.

The dental scenario across India has been pretty good with excellent dental care clinics available across many cities to treat patients. However, there still seems to be a yawning gap as no one takes oral health seriously in India.

Let’s take a quick look at top 3 factors why oral health is seriously neglected across the country.

Ignorance

It has been proven in surveys across the country that ignorance is the root cause for the wide prevalence of practices that are detrimental to oral health in India. Recent survey by Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) indicates that more than 50% of the people who have dental problems take advice from local chemists and prefer home-based remedies. The survey also indicated that only 51% of the total population across India use toothbrush. Nearly 34% people believe that brushing teeth once a day is enough to keep oral problems at bay. Only 28% of the total population brushes twice a day. Around 65% of the total population is unaware that their food habits impact their dental health. Majority of the people don’t know that gum problems can also lead to other health concerns. Dentists can also educate their patients, but for that they need patients to visit their clinics on a regular basis. Most people across India believe that their dental problems are not related to their overall well-being, or are life-threatening and therefore can be neglected.

Dentist-Population Ratio

While there has been a steady growth of dental colleges, there is a significant geographic imbalance among dental colleges leading to variation in the dentist to population ratio. According to the survey, there is 1 dentist for 10,000 persons in urban areas and around 2.5 lakh persons in rural area. This also indicates that the number of dentists in the country is significantly less than it should be. In most developed countries across the world the ratio is around 1 dentist for 2000 persons. With low number of dentists available in the country there is very little emphasis on dental and oral care throughout the country which eventually leads to lack of dental awareness.

Urban-Rural Disparity

While we talk about the growing dental awareness in the country, most of the awareness campaigns and new dental clinics target the urban population of the country which houses only one-fourth of India’s population. Surprisingly, three-fourth of the total dentists available in the country are providing their services in metro cities while rural population in small towns and remote villages are deprived of the dental care and awareness that they need to lead a healthy life. Hospitals that are located in small towns and villages do not have a separate dental department to educate patients about maintaining better oral health. Many people in the rural areas are unaware of how they can improve their daily habits that would lead to good oral health.

Apart from these three factors, there are other factors like poverty and superstitions that also misleads the person away from good dental care. Indian Dental Association (IDA) has been working relentlessly to spread dental awareness by conducting various camps and initiatives across the country.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Lavanya.S says:

    Lack of jobs . After MBBS ppl get to have jobs in any village by govt .but dental jobs are not widely available in villages by govt. after BDS , ppl move to cities so that they can get a job where ppl are aware and come for treatment. Its saddening. And running dentistry is quite expensive . Investing immediately after studies is difficult.

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  2. Excellent way to upgrade knowledge & interact

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  3. psbhatashwin says:

    It is true that most of the Indians neglect oral health and they consider it only when some problems arise. People in rural areas are not aware of importance of oral health. Also, they feel it as a burden to pay for the treatments. Reducing the cost of treatment is bit challenging for the dentist as the investments are more. So cost of the treatment is one main factor which is a hindrance for seeking dental treatment.

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  4. swati dhanotia says:

    The problem in india is most of the population don’t want to spend on their teeth much,even well off ppl..dey fear to go to dentist thinking dey will charge them a lot..yes d person below poverty line can’t even afford food,so it is obvious he won’t give importance to oral health much…problem can be solved…der r dental insurances in foreign countries;why cannot india come up with this idea…may b it wil bring a little change?but little steps can lead to bigger changes..and for poor persons who cannot afford,yes der are free checkup camps ,but dey reach only few of them ….we need a lot of changes to improve oral health status of indians and current scenario of dentistry in india…. it is a noble profession,but needs to managed in india….i used to think dat there are so many dentists in india,and thats why may b we are losing our value but i was wrong,reading the article above;it just tells the problm lies in management and distribution of the services &unawareness of the people regarding oral health…..!!still we all dentists can make a change..change ur mindset regarding scenario of dentistry in india,never degrade your profession and work with ethics…..hopefully dis will bring a little change!:)

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