Teething pain: Dental patient load at 2.63 lakh, Dental doctors mere 164!

While Bolangir, Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Khurda and Mayurbhanj have reported a rise in dental problems. Highest rise recorded in Keonjhar. Periodontal disease and dental caries mostly complained

Bhubaneswar: Odisha needs to get its teeth immediately into the raging dental anomalies in the State.

The State’s dental patient load in 2019 has risen to around 572 per lakh population, whereas the State has only one dentist for a massive 2.6 lakh population. In this backdrop, the teeth chattering fact is the dental problems in Odisha clocked over 18 per cent rise in the first quarter of 2019 vis-a-vis of 2018-19 full year.

As per the data available with the State Health Department, the patients having dental complains who have visited the OPD in government hospitals during the first quarter of the 2019-20 totalled to a staggering 2.63 lakh vis-a-vis of 2.23 lakh in 2018-19. The load in as many as nine districts have increased this fiscal year.

A glance shows that the dental patient load at OPDs has been higher in districts like Bolangir, Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Khurda and Mayurbhanj. Highest rise has been recorded in Keonjhar (an industrial district).

Reports  suggest Periodontal Disease is the major dental problem reported in Odisha. Periodontal or gum disease is an inflammatory condition of the gum and bone support (periodontal tissues) surrounding the teeth. Though bacterial plaques are responsible for the condition, smokers and diabetics are more vulnerable to this dental problem.

While a national dental oral survey conducted in 2002-04 revealed the prevalence of Periodontal disease between 86-100 per cent in Odisha. Dental caries (or cavities formed owing to decay of tooth by virtue of bacterial activities)  is a common condition in the State population, especially children.Nearly 4 per cent in the State have potentially malignant dental disorders.

It has been observed that while three-fourth of school-going children are afflicted with dental caries, nearly 90 per cent adults report periodontal disease in the State.

Moreover, a recent study by Grameen Foundation revealed that 80 per cent of the dental patients belong to below poverty line. So, when this has been the fact, and as BPL people mostly bank on public health services, the disconcerting fact is the dental infra in State government hospitals is very poor.

Consider this. The State has 1,305 PHCs (Primary Health Centres) and 377 CHCs (Community Health Centres), which cater to nearly 70-80 per cent of population in the State. The shocker is none of the PHCs in State have dental surgeons, the proportion in CHCs is below 5 per cent.

The State has a total of 164 dental surgeons, who are mainly based in district headquarters hospitals.

As a consequence, with SCB’s dental wing being most advanced, the dental patient load in Cuttack is highest in the State and is followed by Khurda and Ganjam. The trend of patient load clearly hints that the patient load is higher in the district having comparatively better dental infra in hospitals.