Seek dental care early, folk told

(From left) Dr Muhamad, Dr Nomah and Tuty Farhida launching the event at Melaka Media House in Ayer Keroh.

(From left) Dr Muhamad, Dr Nomah and Tuty Farhida launching the event at Melaka Media House in Ayer Keroh.

MELAKA: Malaysians with bleeding gums when brushing their teeth need to see a dentist immediately for advice.

Health Ministry’s Oral Health Programme senior director Dr Nomah Taharim said they should not take the sign, which is called gingivitis and common among the population, lightly.

She said bleeding gums can be an early warning sign of gum disease.

“Periodontal disease can be cured if treated early.

“However the disease awareness among Malaysians is still low and many will only go to a dental clinic to seek treatment at a later stage,” she said after opening the state-level Transformation With 1 Smile Together (TW1ST) Oral Health Day 2018 at the Melaka Media House in Ayer Keroh here.

Present were state deputy health director (dental) Dr Muhamad Mahadi and Bukit Beruang Community College deputy director (management) Tuty Farhida Sajat.

Dr Nomah said some people with gingivitis will continue to develop a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis which can lead to gum recession, bone loss and eventually tooth loss if left untreated.

She said treatment will become more complex for those who see a dentist for gum disease at a later stage.

“Such patients normally will have to be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) for treatment,” she said, adding that it helps if the public know what were the early signs of periodontal disease.

On a related matter, Dr Nomah said Malaysia still needs more dentists to provide dental health­care to the people.

She said the dentist to patient ratio in the country was 1:3,728 as at Dec 31, 2017.

“The ideal ratio is 1:1,500 and we will have to do more to achieve it,” she said.

On another matter, Dr Nomah said the TW1ST Oral Health programme was a collaboration between the Oral Health Programme of the Health Ministry and Community College Education Department of the Higher Education Ministry.

She said the objective of the programme was to educate the students and staff of all community colleges across the country on proper oral healthcare.

“TW1ST has entered its second year this year. For Melaka, it is the first time the programme is being organised here,” she said, adding that 200 participants from all the six community colleges in the state attended the inaugural programme.