Dental cavity, Chronic Periodontitis and oral cancer are the most common dental problem in Myanmar

05 November 2018

Dr. Maung Toe, vice chair of the Myanmar Dental Association Yangon Region, told MI Radio that dental cavity, chronic Periodontitis and oral cancer are the most common dental problems in Myanmar.                                                                                                        

Off the three common problems, Chronic Periodontitis is a severe and infectious form of gum disease that affects the teeth, gums, and surrounding tissues of the oral cavity.

Dr. Maung Toe, vice chair of the Myanmar Dental Association Yangon Region explained why and how these dental problems become increasingly common.

“The leading cause for the dental cavity would be like as the price for the soft drinks have become much cheaper… increasingly. And another thing is chocolate- when we were young, chocolate was pretty rare snacks. Now, children these days get all the chocolates they want. So the children often suffer tooth decay… the rate of suffering from dental cavities has been growing. That’s why, with the national project, we are conducting seminars in schools to promote awareness on this and prevent this.

Another dental problem, which has become increasingly common is oral cancer. We need to execute the denormalization. Most people living in rural areas go to work in the morning to the field and plantations. Culturally, they bring the packed lunch, cheroot, betel nut and green tea to the workplace. And they chew betel nut and smoke cheroot while working all day long and when they return home, they drink alcohol to wind down. So we need to change all those unhealthy habits and culture. It’s not an easy task to change a deep-rooted culture. So we need to first, disseminate information and awareness on the negative effects of consuming betel nuts, cheroot and alcohol. As farmers make up the 70 % of Myanmar population, they are our primary targets. We cannot force them to change the culture… but by slowing informing them of these detrimental impacts, they will learn to shift towards the change and correction later. So we will be utilizing the denormalization strategy. And I believe these will be very beneficial for many people.”

Denormalization is a range of actions employed to prompt and reinforce the public perception of an unhealthy behavior as socially unacceptable.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016, it is estimated that oral diseases affected half of the world’s population with tooth decay in permanent teeth. The oral health care demands are beyond the capacities of the health care systems in most low-and middle-income countries. It also holds true for one of the low-income countries, Myanmar.

According to data, it is noted that there are over 4000 dentists in Myanmar, a country with the population of some 50 million, indicating the country’s urgent need of the professional dental practitioners to take care of the public dental problems.

Arker Kyaw