BANTAY NGIPIN: Nutrition and Dental Health
Sufficient nutrition and dental health come hand in hand. Sadly, for many Filipinos this is unattainable. According to the 2011 National Monitoring and Evaluation Dental Survey, 87.4 percent of the population suffer from dental caries and another 47 percent from periodontal disease. Another survey conducted by a private company concluded that 7 million Filipinos have never been to the dentist. According to Dr Danny Magtanong of the Philippine Prosthodontic Society (PPS), social class plays a part in the country’s state of dental health as most of the 7 million demographic come from low-income groups who regard dental visits and treatments as “expensive”. (Interaksyon)
Although not a killer disease, the Department of Health (DOH) states that dental problems “weaken bodily defences and serve as an entry point for opportunistic infections.” For children, cavities cause chronic pain and infection that affect school performance. Thus, in 2014, Gota de Leche teamed up with the International Association of Oral Medicine (IAOMT) – Philippines to address this urgent need.
Through its “Bantay Ngipin” program, IAOMT-Philippines provides mercury-free dental services to Gota de Leche beneficiaries. However, unlike other dental community programs, intervention does not end with treatments. To ensure progress, IAOMT-Philippines’ involvement is a four-month activity involving dental health education, tooth brushing drills, and the provision of toothbrushes and toothpastes to beneficiaries.
Now on their third year, Dr Lillian Lasaten-Ebuen, IAOMT-Philippines’ President and Executive Director, shares that despite the daunting task, observing positive changes in the beneficiaries’ dental health is a good sign. “Caries is a major health problem and we are proud to be partners with Gota de Leche. Their work inspire us and so we try to ease the effects of malnutrition and reduce caries prevalence in the country in every way we can.”