Delivering health care service is the mantra of the Department of Health-MIMAROPA regional office and its latest is the school-based preventive oral health services, which benefited 890 pre-school and grade school students.

The project ‘Save My Smile’ (SMS) was launched in Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan – which make up the region – in cooperation with local government units.

Its primary objective is to deter dental carries and other oral diseases among children 0 to 6 years old, according to Regional Director Eduardo Janairo.

Among the services were applying pit and fissure sealant, fluoride utilization, tooth brush drill and oral examination.

“This project was launched to support the delivery of basic oral health care at the local government unit (LGU) level and to provide immediate solution to various dental conditions affecting the high-risk groups of children,” Director Janairo said.

For the region-wide mission, DOH noted it reached out to 396 pre-schoolers and school children in Marinduque, 198 in Romblon, 148 in Occidental Mindoro, and 148 in Oriental Mindoro.

Local government units may initiate basic oral health programmes of their own, according to the DOH Administrative Order 2007-0007.

According to the Health department, about 92.4 percent of Filipinos have tooth decay, while 78 percent have gum diseases.

It was also noted that gum diseases start early in childhood, with 72 percent of 12-year-olds having gingivitis. Non-treatment typically results to a greater risk for irreversible periodontal diseases as these children reach adolescence and adulthood.

The Dental Health Programme of the DOH aims to “empower Filipino citizens in taking care of their own personal oral health and quality of life.” The state, it said, should ensure quality, affordable, accessible and available oral health care delivery.

The programme aims to reduce dental caries and periodontal disease by 5 percent each year.

“I encourage parents to become consistent role models by setting a daily habit of tooth brushing and instilling the importance of oral hygiene to their children,” reminded Director Janairo. MIMS

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