Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin looking at Mohd Ratiha Azaha having his teeth checked by Dr Azwinda Abdul Rashid at the launch of the Colgate Oral Health Month campaign yesterday. With her are Malaysian Dental Association president Dr Mohd Muzafar Hamirudin and Colgate-Palmolive marketing general manager John Hazlin.
PETALING JAYA: A study by the Health Ministry revealed that most young children below the age of 7 suffered from dental cavities.
Its deputy minister, Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, said the oral health of younger children, who are not in the school system, needed improvement.
“This may be attributed to family and environmental factors, which requires us to redouble our education and awareness efforts on dental hygiene,” she said at the launch of the Colgate Oral Health Month 2012 campaign at 1Utama shopping centre yesterday.
Rosnah added that less than one third of 6 year olds were decay-free in 2010.
The campaign, in its ninth year, aims to reach out to 500,000 members of the public via roadshows providing free dental check-ups at 772 participating dental clinics nationwide.
She said the ministry’s National Oral Health Plan (2011-2020) sought to achieve caries-free teeth for children aged 6, 12 and 16.
“So far, the results have been encouraging with caries-free status of 12-year-olds hitting 63 per cent in 2007, and 16-year-olds at 52 per cent.”
She highlighted that the ministry planned to increase the number of dental clinics with two or more permanent dental officers to provide daily outpatient services.
“This year, the ministry has set a target of 250 of these clinics to serve the community with daily dental outpatient services,” she said, adding that oral health services in rural areas could be improved with better access.
She said starting this month, the ministry planned to serve basic dental care to an estimated population of 14,186 in 24 identified villages and estates.
“The local community will be informed a week before these visits.”
Rosnah added that complex cases needing follow-up for health or dental reasons would be referred to the nearest clinic or hospital.
The Malaysian Dental Health Association president, Dr Mohammad Muzaffar Hamirudin, meanwhile, said 90 per cent of Malaysian adults suffered from dental cavities.
“The public must realise that oral disease may also be linked to life- threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.”
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