“Despite great achievements in oral healthcare globally, there remains significant challenges in tackling oral health-related diseases in the Middle East”, experts said in recent studies.
Over the past years, prevalence rates of dental caries and periodontal diseases have notably increased. A survey conducted in Lebanon reported that 98 percent of adults in the 35-44 year age group suffer from dental caries.
Another study conducted at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Saudi Arabia revealed that 45 percent of the Saudi population in the 18-59 year age group suffer from gingival bleeding.
These studies and other independent findings illustrate that oral hygiene remains a significant health challenge, which needs to be taken seriously by both care providers and patients.
Crafted by IIR Middle East Life Sciences, the organisers of Arab Health, the Dentistry Exhibition and Congress 2010 is an opportunity for dental professionals to explore breakthrough technology through a selection of workshops in various dental specialities which will provide a strong clinical aspect to the congress.
Attendance at a lecture or workshop will carry CME credits, and delegates can expect to leave the event with tangible solutions aimed at saving time and increasing efficiency at their respective practices, ultimately benefiting the patient.
Running beside the conference is a major exhibition showcasing a wide range of products including imaging software, impression materials, hand instruments and implant systems from leading regional and global suppliers.
Patient behaviour and motivation, which may be influenced by a dental practitioner, play a key role in the improvement or regression of the individual’s level of hygiene and oral healthcare. Currently patient visits to clinics are mainly restricted to the treatment of ailments as opposed to visits for preventive measures.
Also, dental health professionals may find it challenging to allocate time during a patient’s visit to educate them about the importance of preventive daily oral hygiene practices.
Parents, who play a major role in ensuring that sufficient health education is given to their children, may not be providing appropriate guidance for practising a daily healthy oral care regimen.
They may not be teaching their children the importance of daily brushing, flossing and rinsing with effective chemotherapeutic agents in order to avoid plaque and subsequent periodontal disease.
Brushing twice per day remains a challenge. Inadequate time spent on brushing and lack of knowledge on the appropriate brushing and flossing process further results in failure to reach remote areas around the posterior teeth.
Furthermore, the habit of brushing alone is not adequate to ensure a high level of oral hygiene and optimal oral care because tooth surfaces only comprise 25 percent of oral surface areas exposed to bacteria, whilst the remaining 75 percent is found on oral mucosal surfaces.
The lack of regular daily flossing and mouth rinsing poses another important challenge. Moreover, elderly people with mental or physical limitations may find brushing and inter-dental cleaning difficult.
Regular professional education by dental care practitioners and patient self motivation are required for the inclusion of the crucial three-step daily regimen of preventive care – brush, floss, and use of antiseptic mouthwash – in standard oral care and hygiene practice. Dental care professionals should also emphasise the harm that can occur if the regimen is not followed on a regular basis.
Adding an effective antiseptic mouthwash such as Listerine to the daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing will help overcome the limitations of homecare mechanical methods and significantly improve an individual’s oral health by fighting the harmful bacteria in the mouth and preventing plaque buildup and gingivitis.
Finally, regular discussions and exchanges of information on best practice guidelines among oral healthcare experts, dental practitioners, medical experts and the community at large will contribute to improved oral care in the region.
Dentistry 2010 will run from 9 to 11 November at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE.