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Should Dental Health be turned into a Trend?

I must admit I’m not the biggest dental advocate on the planet. Despite having three generations of dentists in my family, which meant having free and unlimited access to any dental work that I needed done (even including procedures that are just for aesthetic purposes), I haven’t exactly earned my frequent dentist visitor miles.

While working in my aunt’s clinic as a secretary for one summer, only then did I discover that dental cleaning, or more complicatedly known as oral propylaxis, was something that I should have been doing regularly. It wasn’t even because my aunt told me to start establishing my own regular clinic visits, but because I overheard her say it to one patient. Despite the discovery, I still haven’t followed through on my regular checkup routine to this day. I attribute the lax to the fact that I know I have someone of close proximity to help me deal with my dental concerns when they come. Or maybe since my aunt never pressed the concern to our family, I thought it wasn’t a health must-do.

Standard knowledge says that dental health should be a part of an average person’s dental hygiene routine – the funny thing is that everybody knows it but nobody seems to believe it. In other words, less than the ideal number of people actually follow through, and I am one of them.

Not only that, this widespread, self-centered belief has become so standard that we are now oblivious to the consequences that it may inflict not only to ourselves but to other people who may have more urgent dental concerns. The belief has gotten so bad that even governments are taking a swipe at budgets that are meant for dental health. The general thought is that dental health is not a matter of life and death, and therefore can be put aside to make way for other pressing concerns, which are relative to what specific governments consider those to be. Now, people who don’t have access to even the mere basics of dental care have nobody to turn to when faced with more serious dental ailments.

I live in the Philippines, which some would still refer to as a third world country (I believe the term “third world” needs re examination but those thoughts are to be saved for another place and time), which like most other countries in the world have citizens with limited or no access to dental health. Medical missions are usually for far-flung areas like the mountains where civilization is slow to trickle in. Illegal occupants living in the city who can’t afford to maintain their dental health simply do not care. Even countries of power, such as the United States of America, are faced with similar problems. Chicago Tribune reports that in 2011, more than half of Chicago residents surveyed postponed dental treatment due to the inability to afford it, and because their government put dental health budget on the chopping block.

What is needed now is a stronger emphasis by professionals on dental health to change the mindset of individuals and concerned governments alike. Since health is becoming a trend now, it is best to strike while the iron is hot. From a marketing point of view, now may be the best time to put in efforts to make dental health look sexy.

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