Monday, February 16, 2009

Tooth Decay Affects 90 % of Cambodian Children

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Ministry of Health’s Secretary of State Dr. Te Kuyseang has estimated that 90 percent of Cambodian children suffer from tooth decay and other diseases of the teeth and gums. He said the scope of the dental hygiene problem was much worse compared to other countries in Southeast Asia.

The Secretary of State said that according to research conducted by the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Ministry of Health in 2008, 90 percent of Cambodia’s children suffer tooth decay.

“I have observed that many Cambodian children have tooth decay because they have not got into the regular habit of brushing their teeth,” he said. “They have not been taught the importance of oral health, nor how to prevent the onset of dental problems,” he added.

According to the ministry’s research data, children in the six-seven age range have nine rotten teeth each and 16 to 17 year-olds have on average six rotten teeth each. The majority of Cambodian adults were found to have tooth disease, according to the report.

“I appeal to all parents to take the care of their children’s teeth and mouths seriously from now on so that their teeth can last a lifetime,” he said during an interview with the Cambodia Weekly on February 10.

The Secretary of State said that to promote dental hygiene, the Ministry of Health has worked hard to advance a health education program, alongside state schools and communities in districts, cities and provinces in Cambodia.

He added that his ministry has also included dental checkups in each district, provincial referral hospital and health center in provinces and cities across the Kingdom of Cambodia. The Ministry has also implemented the Dentistry Quality Promotion Program whereby the management of medical equipment, human resources and technical training will be adjusted to ensure the effective delivery of healthcare throughout the country.

Hem Chhin, Undersecretary of State for the Ministry of Health said, “Cambodia has the worst dental health record the Southeast Asian region. I am concerned that this problem will have a detrimental effect on our peoples’ health and human resources in future if we cannot improve our record,” he said.

To encourage better care of the teeth and mouth, the Ministry of Health will provide all the nation’s schools with free dental checkups and increase awareness of the importance of proper brushing.

“I hope that with support from the Ministry of Health and other related ministries and companies, we can reduce the prevalence of mouth diseases in Cambodia,” he said. “I hope that through these activities we can protect our peoples’ teeth and gums,” he added.

Heng Chan Sophal, Chief of Sales and Marketing and Supervisor for Colgate Palmolive Cambodia, said his company, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Cambodian Dental Association has recently provided free dental checkups.
He said the checkups started on February 1 and will be completed by February 28, 2009. He pointed out that the checkups will take place at over 50 dental clinics in 24 cities and provinces in Cambodia. According to the company’s plan, over one million Cambodians will benefit from these checkups and the dental care advice they will also receive.

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