9 in 10 Malaysian adults have periodontal disease and dental caries

PUTRAJAYA: Nine in 10 Malaysian adults have experienced periodontal disease and dental caries, based on a study by the Health Ministry.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said 40% to 75% of schoolchildren had dental caries and 76% of five-year-olds had experienced caries.

"Dental health awareness is still low among Malaysians. Many will only go (to a dental clinic) to seek treatment when there is a problem.

"Therefore, the ministry will intensify efforts to increase public awareness on the importance of seeking dental care as a prevention measure and to improve dental health," he told a press conference after attending the World Oral Health Day 2016 celebration, here, today.

He said about 7% of adults in Malaysia had lost all their natural teeth.

"About 30% of Malaysian adults were found to have oral health problems which affected their quality of life such as self-confidence, problems with social interaction and pain during eating," he added.

He said the Health Ministry planned to have 10 more mobile dental clinics this year to make dental healthcare easily accessible to the people.

Currently, he said, there were 36 such mobile units, and 6,384 dentists serving at government and private hospitals and clinics in the country.

"The current dentist to patient ratio in the country is 1:5112 and Malaysia is expected to achieve a ratio of 1:3000 by 2020," he added. — Bernama