Experts call for increased dental health awareness

Cai Wenjun
Many people in China suffer from tooth issues, but few seek treatment from dentists. Doctors recommend more education and improved treatment.
Cai Wenjun

Less than 10 percent of people with dental problems in China will seek medical treatment, compared with about 40 percent among middle-income countries. Poor awareness and financial concerns are the two key factors influencing people’s decisions when visiting dentists, medical experts told an international dental implant summit in Shanghai on Monday.

With the low treatment rate, the incidence of dental disease in China is over 90 percent. About 88 percent of people between 35 and 44 years old suffer from tooth decay, while the percentage is 98 percent for the elderly.

About 36 percent of people between 35 and 44 years old have lost teeth, and this rises to 86 percent among people between 65 and 74 years old. About 4.5 percent of the elderly have lost all their teeth.

“Dental health is an important part of personal health. It is not only related to physical health but also personal appearance,” said Dr Wang Xing, honorary president of Chinese Stomatological Association. “More education is needed to enhance public awareness of dental health and the importance of visiting dentists regularly and promptly once problems occur.”

Robert Zou, president of Arrail Dental, said residents in big cities like Shanghai and Beijing have proper dental care habits and over half of residents visiting dental clinics seek for regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Medical capability, service and the introduction of new technologies are important to encourage people to visit dentists, said experts.

“Digital technology has been widely used in tooth implants. A 3D scan can get a patient's detailed and accurate dental information, and a computer-guided tooth implant can be shortened from 30 minutes to less than 10 minutes with less pain, high accuracy and better effects,” said Dr Huang Yuanliang from Arrail and chairman of the summit.

Guidelines on dental implants were also released at the summit to regulate clinical practice and enhance treatment.

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