THE Philippine Dental Association (PDA)-Davao City Chapter urged national and local governments to give dental health care a priority as oral diseases continue to become one of the major public health problems in the country.
PDA-Davao City chapter president Dr. Pinky Ancog, during the Connect Health and Wellness press conference held at SM Lanang Premier Friday, August 25, said 53 percent in the city admitted that they only go to dentists when they experience oral pain.
Based on a research conducted by Department of Health (DOH) last year, 78 percent in the city have gum diseases.
Ancog said the country has the highest number of people wearing dentures throughout Southeast Asia with nine million users as of 2016, indicating the poor dental system in the country as compared to other nations whose governments support the importance of dental health care of their citizens.
"Dental health care must be seen as important by the government because oral diseases such as oral cancer, sores, and infections are as deadly as other diseases in the world considering the fact that even a five year old child can get severe tooth decay that affects his performance and wellness at school or play," she said.
PDA-Davao City vice president Dr. Charito Reyes said the National Government should revive the Bureau of Dental Health Services under DOH to unify all dental programs of both private and public organizations and hospitals and to easily coordinate with one another for collaborative projects.
Reyes said they have sent a letter of request to President Rodrigo Duterte last January of this year regarding the accreditation of dental services to PhilHealth members.
"One reason why many Filipinos do not go to dentists is because of the rates. If only the government includes dental services as part of PhilHealth benefits, our people from the grassroot level will not hesitate to have their teeth and gums checked," she said.
Reyes added that the association has also lobbied the request for PhilHealth discount to the City Council but the application is still pending.
Ancog said that since last year, PDA-Davao City chapter conducts a series of dental programs for children ages 6 to 12 in different barangays thrice a month. The program focuses on dental disease prevention such as proper brushing of teeth, dental consultation, and dental education.