x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

One in five visit the dentist annually, UAE study shows

A study on oral health habits of UAE residents found almost half wait until they have a toothache before visiting the dentist.

DUBAI // Almost half of people in the UAE wait until they have toothache before visiting the dentist, a new survey of oral health habits has found.

The data also showed that while tooth decay affects 80 per cent of the population, only one in five visit the dentist once a year.

Experts are highlighting the importance of regular dental check-ups to prevent cavities, decay and gum disease.

Dr Ramesh Sabhlok, an orthodontist and former Dubai Health Authority consultant, said everyone should make a twice yearly visit to the dentist.

“Regular dental visits are essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums,” he said. “During these examinations, we check for tooth decay, evaluate the health of your gums and even examine your mouth for any indications of oral cancer, diabetes or vitamin deficiencies.

“This is especially important given the majority of dental problems are not painful in their early stages.”

Tooth decay and other common oral conditions are largely preventable through good oral hygiene habits, said Dr Sabhlok.

Early signs of tooth decay or gum disease include a chalky white spot on the surface of the tooth, a persistent toothache, puffy, red or swollen gums, sensitivity and bad breath.

“In between dental visits, it’s imperative that residents are taking the necessary steps each day to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy,” the orthodontist added.

“All individuals — including children under adult supervision — should be brushing their teeth at least twice daily, flossing on a daily basis, chewing sugar-free gum after they eat or drink and using an oral rinse to eliminate additional germs that may be present in the mouth.”

jbell@thenational.ae