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How Dentistry Differs Around the World

provided by: David DiGiallorenzo

Oral health is making sure a person is free from sores and oral infection, throat and oral cancer, facial and mouth pain, tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth loss, and various other disorders and diseases which may limit a person’s capacity in psychological well-being, smiling, biting, speaking, and chewing. According to the World Health Organization almost 100 percent of adults and 60-90 percent of school aged children around the world have cavities. There are about 30 percent of people around the globe aged 65-74 who are without their natural teeth. Oral disease in adults and children is highest among the disadvantaged and poorer population groups. Various things contribute to oral diseases including tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, unhealthy diets, and social determinants. Having a healthy mouth is essential to quality of life and general health. Although dental services are available throughout the world, dentistry and training needed to practice dentistry varies in a number of ways.

For higher-income countries, traditional dental care plays a significant role in economic burden and anywhere from five to ten percent of expenditure for public health relates to oral health. In middle and lower-income countries, programs for better oral health for the public are rare. With measure to promote proper oral health and effective prevention, the high costs can be avoided. Mexico has been a popular destination for citizens of the United States who are seeking dental procedures. Costa Rica and Panama are also known for low-cost, high-quality dental work. New Zealand has been rated worse than the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia in children’s dental health.

As of 2010, in Australia, a person must obtain licensing and registration from Australia’s nationalized dental board and only those who hold qualifications of BDS, DDS, and BDSc, among others, from accredited New Zealand and Australian universities. In European countries there are subsidies and dental services for the public which ensure that the majority of their citizens can access dental services they may require, regardless of the fact that they may not be able to pay. In order to practice dentistry in Hong Kong, a person must study at The University of Hong Kong and complete the five-year B.D.S. course.

To practice dentistry in the United States a person must have a Doctor of Dental Medicine or a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Treatment is excellent but it is also costly which makes it more difficult for lower-income families to receive reasonable prices for oral health treatment. To practice dentistry in Peru, individuals must attend a university for a post secondary education. Typically the length of education is six years. Peruvian clinics provide quality dental care. Dental car in Peru is also less expensive than it is in Mexico, the United States, and other Asian, European, or American countries.

Many reasons some countries have poorer oral health than others is due to not being made a priority. Environmental determinants that influence oral health range from positive factors such as water fluoridation to negative factors such as carbohydrate and sugar intake. Other factors that play a role in lack of oral health include societal and political norms, economic climate, and wealth of society. These issues affect how or if oral health services can be provided to certain areas of the world.

Although oral health is not often made a priority, it is imperative in a person’s overall well-being. If a person is missing teeth, or has bad teeth, it can affect their communication, self-esteem, or ability to gain employment. Should they suffer from an abscess that is left untreated, it could eventually result in death. Many people throughout the world do not seek proper dental care due to various life or income-based circumstances and public programs need to be set in place to provide quality care to the public regardless of their ability to pay. Dentistry is a service needed all over the world for people of all ages and although training and practice varies depending on the location, the goal is the same; to provide people with the necessary access to dental professionals.