The following article first appeared in Chinese in the April 19, 2011 issue of the My Paper newspaper. For the benefit of those who missed the article, or who cannot access the publication in Chinese, we have summarized the content of the article below.
Do Singaporeans pay attention to their oral health?
66% of Singaporeans will not have a date with someone who has bad breath and 87% of women also think that men with bad breath are unattractive. 95% of Singaporeans feel that fresh breath is an important factor for one’s confidence.
On the other hand, 18% of those surveyed did not have a habit brushing their teeth twice a day and 20% of Singaporeans do not understand what plaque is.
According to a recent survey commissioned by Oral-B, Singaporeans see the importance of oral health, but they don’t necessarily cultivate the right dental care habits or have enough knowledge about it.
79% of Singaporeans have dental issues, e.g. sensitive teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, tooth decay, bad breath, periodontitis or gingivitis, amongst other dental problems.
60% of Singaporeans recognize that they had gum problems but only 41% will paid attention to it and of all these, 66% did not think that plaque was the cause of gingivitis.
These survey questions were done by oral healthcare products company, Oral-B, and research company, AC Nielsen, with the aim of understanding current oral health among Singaporeans. The research was conducted at the beginning of 2011, with 312 Singaporean respondents between the ages of 16 to 55-year-old.
In 2011, the Oral-B Campaign “Healthier Teeth, Healthier Singapore” also invited Ministry of Health (MOH) Chief Dental Officer and Associate Professor Patrick Tseng to host the opening ceremony and reveal the survey results at the conference.
Professor Tseng indicated that the practice of good oral care was the only way to maintain gum health. Prevention of dental issues is better than cure as the fees are lower and it will require fewer procedures.
Generally, dental issues are either caused by daily neglect of oral care or long-term bad oral habits. Therefore, it is recommended to pay attention to oral hygiene every day, and not to wait until signs of dental issues to appear to look for a dentist.
Dentists recommend going for a dental check-up once every six months. However, about 65% of Singaporeans do not have a habit of seeing the dentist twice a year. 43% of the respondents only see the dentist when they have a dental problem.
Dr Helena Lee, Periodontist at Specialist Dental Group says, “The majority of people feel that as long as they do not feel any pain, there is no need to see a dentist. We need to change this mindset because a lot of dental problems occur under painless circumstances over a period of time. Regular dental checkups can help to detect unforeseen dental issues early.”