Habits that Affect Oral and Dental Health in the UAE

Often times, habits can be very hard to break, especially if they are things people were taught to do since childhood. It is also hard to build habits out of things that don’t seem important to a person, such as brushing teeth twice a day, if they were not taught to do so since childhood. Many UAE residents, adults and children, suffer from dental and oral health issues because of certain actions that they perform regularly without realizing how those actions can affect their health. This article will highlight a few of those detrimental habits among the residents of the UAE.

Identifying problems in their early stages is important to prevent them from developing to more serious ones. Professionals recommend all individuals to visit the dentist at least twice a year. Unfortunately, a survey conducted by Wrigley’s Extra Healthcare Programme on UAE residents revealed that only one in five people follow the recommendation, almost half of the respondents visit their dentist only when they are in pain, and over a fifth visit their dentist only once year. Over 80% of the UAE’s residents have tooth decay, and according to Dr. Ramesh Sabhlok, a leading orthodontist and former Dubai Health Authority consultant, a seemingly minor problem like this can develop into major problems such as gum diseases. This fact stresses how important prevention through good dental hygiene and early treatment through regular dental visits are.

As of 2013, more than 20% of adults and more than 21% of children in the UAE smoke daily. As a result, more than 15% of deaths in the UAE are caused by smoking. It is often talked about how smoking leads to serious issues such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, but the negative effects it has on dental and oral health should also be acknowledged. Smoking can cause tooth stains, tooth decay, bad breath and oral lesions, some of these issues can also negatively affect social relationships and self esteem. Furthermore, a study have revealed that secondhand smoking affects children’s milk teeth and can lead to children exposed to smoke to have higher chances of developing dental caries.

Results of another survey, also conducted by Wrigley’s Extra Healthcare Programme, revealed that many UAE residents lack good oral and dental hygiene. Dentists recommend brushing teeth at least two times daily, but according to the results, over half of the respondents don’t follow this recommendation. Dr. Raghad Hashim, Associate Professor and Head of the Growth and Development Department at Ajman University’s College of Dentistry, recommends flossing daily to eliminate food particles from between the teeth. He also encourages chewing sugar-free gum after meals to stimulate saliva, which is important to clean the mouth.

Having a healthy mouth and healthy teeth can be easy if the right habits are adopted. Therefore, informing parents and adults about the habits that benefit them and the ones that harm them is essential so that they are able to maintain good oral health, and also so that they can educate their children about the topic to protect them from the preventable dental and oral diseases.