Nearly 67 per cent of Indians have never visited a dentist and around 87 per cent does not believe in visiting one unless there is a problem, a nationwide survey has revealed.
The national Consumer Usage and Attitudes Survey (CUAS) reveals that dental problems in India are reflected in the low awareness levels and poor oral hygiene habits. The survey conducted across the country comprised a total of 11,324 interviews by Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) and was sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited.
According to the survey, 49 per cent of the respondents associate dental problems with lifestyle related reasons such as "improper eating habits" and "not leading a healthy lifestyle". Almost half of the respondents relate dental problems to lack of a daily oral care regimen such as "regular brushing at least twice a day".
"Only three out of every 100 respondents said they visited dentists at least once a year. By contrast, the global average for people visiting dentists is 57 per cent," said the survey.
"Only 47 percent of total treatments received are by dentists - the rest prefer to rely on advice from chemists, general practitioners or self-treatment using home remedies and brushing. Of 70 per cent who suffer from cavities/tooth decay, only 58 percent visit the dentist," the findings revealed.
"Of 53 percent who suffer from mouth odour, 64 per cent who suffer from gum bleeding, 63 percent who suffer from mouth ulcers, only 11, 28 and 21 percent respectively visit a dentist," it added.
"Oral health is very important and critical for the overall health. Numerous studies over the years investigating the mouth-body connection have suggested an association between oral health and general health. Research has also shown that dental diseases can best be prevented through early detection and primary prevention," said Indian Dental Association's secretary general Ashok Dhoble.
"Children, right from the age of three, should be made aware of basics like the importance of brushing teeth twice a day, cleaning teeth and gums properly and other oral care information. Starting early will make oral hygiene not a practice but a habit with them," he added.
As per the survey, the most important triggers to brush teeth are to keep the breath fresh and remove the trapped food particles.