Improvement in Oral Healthcare

On average, every Iranian has more than two decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMF) while the global average is 1.8.On average, every Iranian has more than two decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMF) while the global average is 1.8.

Tooth decay remains one of the most common chronic diseases among Iranians. On average, every Iranian has more than two decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMF) while the global average is 1.8.

One of the reasons for unfavorable dental health conditions is the lack of nationwide promotion of oral hygiene. Furthermore, access to oral healthcare is limited, largely due to inadequate insurance cover and insufficient dental care providers.

“However, over the past two years people’s access to oral healthcare services has improved, albeit marginally,” said Ali Akbar Sayyari, deputy minister of health, on the sidelines of the second anniversary of the launching of dental and oral health reforms in 2015 (part of the government’s 2014 Health Reform Plan), Monday at Tehran’s Olympic Hotel, IRNA reported.

Since the implementation of oral health programs, 7 million primary students in 60,000 schools have received free ‘fissure sealants’ (plastic coatings that are painted on the grooves of the back teeth to prevent food and bacteria from getting stuck in them.) Additionally, 1.6 million received free dental restoration services.

There are 7.4 million primary students in the country studying in more than 61,300 primary schools.

However, so far the focus of oral healthcare has been on improving services in schools and among young students.

“Further efforts will be made to cover all age groups,” the official said, adding that the ministry has plans to increase access to dental healthcare services in deprived areas.

  Mobile Clinics

“A total of 80 well-equipped mobile dental clinics will start providing services to people in underprivileged areas and fringes of cities by the end of next week,” said Mohammad Hadi Ayazi, social deputy minister of health.

Around 11 million people live in informal settlements mostly in outlying areas of cities. So far, 212 medical teams have visited these areas to offer health services.

The mobile clinics will provide basic dental services. “However this measure cannot meet the needs of all the people in disadvantaged areas,” he said urging philanthropists to contribute “so as to help us increase the number of mobile dental clinics to help more people.”

Mobile clinics are high-quality and heavy duty vehicles equipped with costly dental instruments and imaging units. “Each vehicle costs $62,500 (2.5 billion rials). The ministry has so far spent $5 million on the 80 mobile clinics,” the official said.

  Oral Hygiene and General Health

People should be made aware of the importance of oral health. Oral health has an impact on physical health, and is associated with chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

As an example, bacteria in the bloodstream (due to an oral infection) can travel to the heart and lead to a heart attack.

The bacteria also may find its way to the inner linings of the heart and valves which in turn create growth pockets of bacteria which cause inflammation and infection of the inner heart linings. Bad oral hygiene can also result in increase of bacteria in the lungs.

Oral health also affects psychological development and health. Missing teeth can lead to diminished self-esteem. An individual’s ability to perform basic activities may also be affected by oral health, studies say.


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