Locals suffer high rate of tooth decay, experts say

The high rate of tooth decay in the city has alarmed the government, which has stepped up dental treatment and education, with private investment also engaging in the field. 

Doctors gave free dental consultations yesterday.

About 65 percent of local 5-year-olds suffer from tooth decay, which also effects as high as 98 percent of Shanghai's elderly, medical experts say.

Free consultations and checkups were launched yesterday for National Dental Care Day to promote the knowledge of dental disease prevention and control.

Doctors say dental health is closely related with overall health and that dental infection can result in, or worsen, chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Dental infection of pregnant women is a risk factor in premature delivery and low birth weight.

Shanghai has started to promote free dental treatment and control in schools, and give free education and consultations in companies and nursing homes. The latest figures show that the prevalence of tooth decay among children at 12-years-of-age is 17.7%, the lowest in the nation.

The dental sector has also attracted the attention of private investors, but most investments are confined to the low-end market.

“Most private dental clinics and hospitals in China lack professional management systems and have low out-patient quantity,” said Tian Fangjun from Shanghai-based Bondent, the biggest private dental service group in the nation.

“Domestic private dental groups should focus on technological innovation, improved services and talent cultivation to boost their development and provide better dental services to the public.”

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