Only 45% Indians brush teeth twice compared to 83% in Japan 

“In India, patients reported the highest sugary food consumption frequency, with 32 per cent,”
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

NEW DELHI: Most Indians don’t seem to brush twice daily and have the sweetest tooth, according to the latest global oral health assessment findings. Among the six countries where the data is available, 78 to 83 per cent of respondents in China, Colombia, Italy, and Japan reported brushing twice daily, compared to only 45 percent of Indians.

“In India, patients reported the highest sugary food consumption frequency, with 32 per cent,” said the study, a coordinated global data exercise held in 12 countries on a pilot basis by Oral Health Observatory (OHO), which collects data on oral health. OHO was formed by the Geneva-based FDI World Dental Federation, which represents one million dentists.

The study also found that patients in China and India predominantly brush their teeth before breakfast, while in Colombia, Italy, and Japan, they are most likely to clean their teeth after eating. Thirty-two percent of patients in India reported the highest sugary food consumption frequency compared to only 11 per cent in China.

The study, which was published in the International Dental Journal, also found that patients in China and India were the most likely to have never visited a dentist. “In all countries, most patients had seen a dentist in the last year, ranging between 51 per cent in India to 80 per cent in Japan,” said the study.

The most common reason for not seeing a dentist was not having severe issues or being too busy and also, being afraid of or not liking dentists. According to Dr. Rajeev Chitguppi, Mumbai-based periodontics, Indians don’t give priority to their oral health. “They take it for granted till a problem arises. Lack of awareness is one reason and lack of priority is the second but main reason. It becomes a priority only when they face a dental issue.”

“Many patients start brushing twice daily after they take a dental treatment and their dentist advises them to brush twice daily. However, the motivation doesn’t last long in many,” he told this paper.
The study said that except for Japan, most patients claimed their oral health to be good or very good. Eighty percent of Japanese patients rated their oral health as poor or very poor. Most patients across the countries complained of pain or experiencing difficulty eating or chewing in the past 12 months.

The data collected till the start of the Covid-19 pandemic is now available from six countries: India, China, Colombia, Italy, Japan, and Lebanon. Under the exercise, the National Dental Associations recruited dentists for the survey among patients, who were asked questions on demographics, dental attendance, oral health behaviours, and clinical measures using a mobile app.

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The New Indian Express