New Survey Reveals Dental Problems In India Are Linked To Low Awareness And Poor Habits
60% have never visited a dentist; over 50% not concerned about preventing or curing dental problems; almost 30% do not use any oral care product; 75% of toothpaste users brush only once or less than once a day; over 50% of rural India does not use a toothbrush to clean teeth;
Mumbai, October 03, 2005: A new national consumer usage and attitudes survey conducted across 233 cities by Synovate India and sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited has revealed that dental problems in India are reflected in the low awareness levels and poor oral hygiene habits. The Survey showed that people do not associate dental health with adequate oral care. Most associate dental problems with lifestyle related reasons like ‘improper eating habits’ and ‘being born with bad teeth’, a perception prominent in rural areas.
According to the Survey, as much as 60% of people in India have never visited a dentist and only 2% actually visit a dentist regularly. And when it comes to dental problems, over 50% are unconcerned about preventing or curing dental problems:
- 74% aware of the prevalence of cavities, but 63% are unconcerned
- 76% aware of the prevalence of stained teeth, but 66% are unconcerned
- 78% aware of the prevalence of gum bleeding, but 63% are unconcerned
- 74% aware of the prevalence of swollen gums, but 66% are unconcerned
The Survey also revealed 24% of consumers suffered from toothache in the past one year and 96% were aware of the problem, but only as few as 35% have taken treatment from a dentist.
In addition to attitudes, the Survey also tracked usage patterns and almost 30% were found not using any modern oral care products, the number being higher in rural areas. In the urban areas 7% do not use any modern oral care products, whereas in the rural areas the percentage is as high as 37%, where people still use non-dentifrice products such as Neemstick (Datun), charcoal and ash.
As far as brushing habits go, over 50% of rural India does not use a toothbrush to clean teeth while over 75% of toothpaste users brush once or less than once a day.
These usage and attitudes are reflected in the overall status of dental health in India. According to the most recent National Oral Health Survey conducted by the Dental Council of India and supported by Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited, tooth decay (dental caries) is prevalent among 63.1% of 15 year olds and as much as 80.2% among adults in the age group of 35-44 years while gum diseases (Periodontal diseases) are prevalent in 67.7% of 15 year olds and as much as 89.6% of 35-44 year olds.
“The mouth is a mirror that can reflect the health of the rest of your body. Numerous recent studies investigating the mouth-body connection have suggested an association between oral health and general health. For instance, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that chronic gum disease may contribute to the development of heart disease, said Dr. Ashok Dhoble, Secretary General, Indian Dental Association, Head Office.
Dr. Bhagwant Singh, National President, Indian Dental Association. said, “Research has shown that dental diseases can best be prevented through early detection and primary prevention. Which means people need to at least get the basics right – brush twice daily and visit a dentist twice a year. The benefit of doing so is not only less painful, but also significantly less expensive. Children, right from the age of three should be made aware of basics like the importance of brushing teeth twice a day, cleaning teeth and gums properly and other oral care information. Starting early will make oral hygiene not a practice but a habit with them,” added Dr. Bhagwant Singh.
Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited is India’s leading provider of scientifically proven oral care products with multiple benefits at various price points. The range includes toothpastes, toothpowder and toothbrushes under the 'Colgate' brand, as well as a specialised range of dental therapies under the banner of Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals. These have become an essential part of daily oral hygiene and therapeutic oral care in India. The Company also provides a range of personal care products under the 'Palmolive' brand name. Colgate has been ranked as India’s Most Trusted Brand across all categories for two consecutive years in 2003 and 2004 by Brand Equity’s Most Trusted Brand Survey. Prior to this, Colgate was also rated as the #1 brand by the A&M- MODE Annual Survey for India’s Top Brands for eight out of nine years during the period 1992 to 2001. For more information about Colgate's business, visit the Company's website on the Internet at www.colgate.co.in