The study unveiled the reasons why Singaporeans aren’t going to the dentist as much as they should, including a fear of discovering dental issues.
When’s the last time you visited the dentist? If it’s been more than a year or two, you’re probably not alone. Had a scary memory from childhood dental visits? You’re in good company. A recent survey commissioned by the Singapore Dental Association and the Singapore Dental Health Foundation showed that only 4 in 10 Singaporeans had regular dental check-ups.
The #ToothTruths study, which surveyed 572 respondents, aims to uncover Singaporeans’ dental health experiences, including attitudes, fears, and motivation relating to dental health-seeking behaviours. More interestingly, the survey also showed that half of those who do not visit the dentist regularly is also embarrassed about their dental health.
Among the reasons given for irregular dental visits are bad childhood experiences, affordability issues, and the fear of discovering dental issues. 30 percent of the participants said that they only saw the need to visit if there’s a dental problem, while 19 percent cited a lack of time. Meanwhile, 12 percent were afraid of the pain they might encounter.
While 80 percent of Singaporeans were aware that absence of pain does not suggest the absence of dental problems, more than half of those surveyed didn’t plan for regular check-ups. 90 percent of respondents also answered correctly when asked whether gum disease affects only the elderly. As such, this suggests that a lack of dental awareness may not be the main reason for irregular dental attendances.
Dr. Goh Siew Hor, president of the Singapore Dental Association and the Singapore Dental Health Foundation, suggests that as the severity of the dental disease may not be correlated to pain, many patients misjudge the severity of dental disease until it is in the advanced stages.
For example, periodontal or gum disease which affects the amount of bone supporting the teeth can be “silent” and patients only become aware when their teeth become loose. Some patients may also assume that they can play catch up later and have all their dental issues fixed when they have the time. However, what they may not realise is that it may not always be possible to restore it back to be as good as the original.
In encouraging locals to talk about their positive dental experiences, the #ToothTruths campaign hopes to inspire others to take ownership of their own dental health. Head over to Singapore Dental Association’s Facebook page to learn more about fellow Singaporeans’ dental hygiene habits.
The #ToothTruths survey was sponsored by Pearlie White, Singapore’s only homegrown oral care brand.