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Barriers to Accessing Oral Health Care

The fundamental requirement to maintain oral hygiene starts with cleaning your teeth, strictly adhering to dental care habits, and being conscious of your overall oral wellbeing. According to Brampton dentist Dr. Dhillon, maintaining good oral hygiene will go a long way in preventing gum diseases, tooth decay, and bad breath. Also, those who keep to oral hygiene have the upper hand, especially having your teeth in good condition as you grow older in life.

Despite the benefits inherent in maintaining proper oral hygiene, the fact remains that not many people have access to oral health care around the world. Out of the 195 countries recognized by the United Nations, with a population not less than 7 billion people across the different continent and an estimated 210 billion teeth, the more significant percentage of people across the globe don’t have access to quality oral health services.

According to a report, the Philippines, India, Australia, Bolivia, and Poland represent the lowest access to oral health care services. While the countries mentioned above have a high rate of limited access to oral health care, it is also essential to state that it is a global phenomenon. This piece will be looking at some of the significant causes mitigating against access to oral health care services worldwide.

Financial cost

It is not as if most people don’t know that they need dental attention, but the major challenge why most people shy away from dental treatment is cost and individual level of income. To get a clearer picture of how financial cost affects access to oral health care, you must compare the level of income in developing and developed countries. For instance, children living in poor societies in developing countries are likely not to have access to oral health care services compared to their peers in advanced economies.

Aside from comparing developed and developing countries, another point is that even people in advanced economies have a different level of income. So, the critical cause of disparity constituting a barrier to having access to efficient oral health care services in any part of the world is the individual level of income and financial cost of dental services.

Dental anxiety

This may sound surprising, but various reports have continued to show that dental anxiety represents one of the primary reasons most people ignore oral care. Although financial cost is an integral part of the barrier, there are situations where dental services are rendered at low cost or free. Most people still do subject themselves to dental care due to anxiety. In a society where dental anxiety is high, the possible effect is that there will be a high rate of dental avoidance. And when this becomes the norm in a particular society, there will be a high burden of oral health problems among the majority of the population.

Inadequate dental care services

Lack of access to proper dental care services is more profound in developing countries than developed countries. There are situations where financial cost or dental anxiety is not the problem, but access to the services. For instance, people of minority groups cite language barriers as one of the reasons for ignoring modern oral treatment for the traditional treatment method. Suppose a high percentage of the medical team are from the dominant ethnic group of the society. In that case, the minority groups may shy away from fear, especially where a language barrier exists. So, when you combine the language barrier with a shortage of facilities and treatment apparatus such as wheelchairs, lavatories, and workforce, the predictable outcome is that many people will not be able to access oral health care services.

Poor oral literacy

Do you know why most people have dental anxiety? It is because of inadequate information about oral health. Some societies don’t see the need for oral health care; thus, they handle the oral health problem with fun. So, unless there is an awareness program to sensitize some of these societies about the danger of not paying attention to oral health, no investment in infrastructure, cost reduction will change their perception.

Final thought

Inadequate oral health is a global challenge. However, the problem is more prevalent in some countries than in others. It is also important to note that the causes of the barrier vary based on society. The primary reason for oral health challenges in some societies could be a financial cost, inadequate infrastructure in dental health facilities.

At the same time, it could result from dental anxiety in another culture. The economic cost, dental anxiety, insufficient oral health infrastructure, and poor oral literacy constitute the main barriers to accessing oral health care.

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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