A new national study by KANTAR IMRB for Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited revealed that at least 8 out of 10 children in India suffer from oral health issues, underscoring the need for immediate action. Some of the major oral health problems found in children surveyed include visible plaque accumulation, white spots on teeth, visible caries, gum inflammation, bad breath and gum bleeding. The survey revealed that as many as 2 out of 3 children have cavities or are at a high risk of developing them. The study also highlighted that around 9 out of 10 adults surveyed suffer from a major oral health problem.
The study highlights that the high incidence of oral health issues in children was recorded across the country – East India (89%),West India (88%), North India (85%) andSouth India (64%). Some of the large cities also exhibited high incidence oforal health issues- Mumbai (90%),Kolkata (93%), Hyderabad(82%), Delhi (79%), Chennai(60%) and Bangalore(46%).
Another finding from the survey was the significant difference between the actual dental health condition of children and the state of their oral health as believed by their parents.This evident disparity is mostly driven by low awareness about how crucial oral health is to their children’s overall wellness. At least 8 out of 10 parents surveyed believed that their children have healthy teeth, while a dental examination found that around 80% of those children actually suffer from at least one oral health problem. This gap between reality and parents’ perception of their children’s oral health is most prominent in Kolkata (92%), followed by Mumbai (88%) and Hyderabad (80%).
The study also revealed that most children in Indiado not followessential oral care practices such as brushing twice daily and regular dental check-up. More than 70% of children surveyed do not brush their teeth twice a day and more than 60% of them have not been taken to a dentist in the past one year. Moreover, the survey pointed out that 8 out of 10 children who consumed sweetened products daily suffer from oral health issues. Around 44% of children surveyed need major dental treatments such as restoration, root canal or an extraction.
“Most parents don’t know that milk teeth in a child need to be cared for from the time they erupt in the baby’s mouth. These teeth contribute significantly to the toddler’s overall growth, allowing the child to chew nutritious food while encouraging adequate development of the jaws. This lays the foundation for strong permanent teeth and a healthy smile. The high incidence of cavities and oral health problems in children has its roots in poor care of milk teeth.” stated, Dr. Meenakshi S. Kher, Member, The Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry (ISPPD). Expressing concern about the insights brought up by the survey, Dr. V Gopikrishna, President, Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry (IAPHD) stated, “This study highlights the state of Oral Health in the country, calling out for an immediate need to increase awareness. Numerous other scientific studies also strongly interlink poor oral health to several other health conditions such as diabetes, preterm low-birth-weight and atherosclerosis, among others. It must be remembered that effective management of dental diseases and good oral hygiene can lead to strong teeth, which can improve the overall wellbeing of an individual.”