In the Philippines, February is the Oral Health Month. It is an annual celebration since 1951 but it is only since 2004 that it is celebrated for a month-long, following Presidential Proclamation No. 559 signed by the then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Oral health represents today a widespread problem in the Philippines, and last year the Philippine Dental Association recommended local administrations to prioritize oral health among other health issues. Indeed, the majority of the Filipino population goes to the dentist only when experiencing pain, meaning when it is too late for prevention, and the 78% suffers from gum diseases, according to a study published by the Department of Health in 2016. For children the issues are relevant as well, considering that a toothache is one of the most common causes of absenteeism from school and that a wrong oral hygiene can lead throughout the years to worse diseases.
This year the theme for Oral Health Month is “Ngipin Ay Alagaan Mula Sa Sinapupunan Para Sa Magandang Ngiti Hanggang Katandaan“: it focuses on maternity, differentiating itself from the previous editions when the focus was on the oral health of children. This time it has been chosen to give importance to a good oral hygiene and nutrition during pregnancy, in such a way that future mothers will also become role models for their children in this field.
Nutrition, the health of future mothers, the importance of oral health have always been topics dear to Kito Onlus, which has been organizing training and missions for years to fight malnutrition and promote good alimentation and correct oral hygiene. And it keeps on doing it, as the graphic below shows, reporting the main sectors in which the Kito Health Unit of San Fernando la Union has operated in 2017.