Some of those who do not visit the dentist regularly are also embarrassed about their dental health.
Half of those who do not visit the dentist regularly are also embarrassed about their dental health, shared a recent survey. The study was commissioned by the Singapore Dental Association and the Singapore Dental Health Foundation to look into the dental health experiences of Singaporeans including attitudes, fears and motivation relating to dental health seeking behaviours. Of the 572 survey respondents, only four in 10 Singaporeans had regular dental check-ups.
The top three reasons given for irregular dental visits are the lack of time (19 percent), fear of pain (12 percent) and seeing the need only if there is a dental problem or issue (30 percent). Other reasons participants cited for staying away include bad childhood experience, affordability issues and fear of discovering dental issues.
The study also found that 80 percent of Singaporeans were aware that absence of pain does not suggest absence of dental problems. Ninety percent of respondents also answered correctly when asked whether gum disease affects only seniors. This suggests that a lack of dental awareness may not be the main reason for irregular dental attendances.
Dr Goh Siew Hor, president of the Singapore Dental Association and the Singapore Dental Health Foundation, suggests that as the severity of dental disease may not be correlated to pain, many patients may misjudge the extent of dental disease until it is in the advanced stages.
For instance, periodontal or gum disease which affects the amount of bone supporting the teeth can be “silent” and patients are only alerted when their teeth start to become loose. Some patients may also assume that they can play catch up later on and have all their dental issues fixed when they have the time. However, what they may not realise is that it may not always be possible to restore it back to be as good as the original.
The survey which was sponsored by Singapore’s oral care brand Pearlie White has also gone further with a campaign to encourage Singaporeans to talk about their positive dental experiences and inspire others to take ownership of their own dental health. Over the campaign period, Singaporeans have shared about their own dental hygiene practices and how they have tried to involve their families. More details can be found on the Singapore Dental Association’s Facebook page.