Society’s attitude towards dental health

There is a lack of importance assigned by society towards dental health versus general health. Societal attitudes tend to have a collective consciousness. Similar to the manner in which an individual’s mind can be studied with appropriate methods, so can a society’s habits. In India, the population has yet to realise dental problems as a lifestyle disorder. Dental problems can affect a variety of activities such as the food we eat, the various recreational habits involving the oral tract(such as smoking or chewing paan), and even the very shape of our faces. It is this lack of importance that results in dental treatment not being eligible for medical insurance in our country.

The biggest problem associated with dental treatment is pricing. In a capitalist society, where money is the source of food, health, clothing, luxury, etc – the desire to spend money on dental health is proportional to the urgency of need for that dental treatment. Advertising psychology used in campaigns from global technology, fast-food and clothing brands result in creating a desire for spending on items such as expensive cell phones and clothes rather than oral health. Whilst this may satisfy a short term desire, it tends to leave a long term impact on the health of an individual. Indian law also prevents organisations from advertising their medical practices. This causes the general people to be fed constant information on their phones, buses and billboards about the latest gadgets and movies and prioritizing them over their physical health. An individual would rather buy the latest iPhone than spend the same money on his oral health if the person is given a choice.

Dental treatment almost always requires some form of physical work to be done on the teeth, even if its something as simple as a scaling. The general public attitude towards health involves a preference of taking medicines over undergoing physical treatment. This ideology reinforces the stereotypical ‘fear’ of dentists. Dental treatment normally involves a consultation followed by treatment at a later time depending on the nature of treatment required. The need for multiple treatments and visits to a dental clinic causes some form of stress in a patient drawing them further away from the desire of undergoing dental treatment.

There are numerous cons to the process of thought regarding dental treatment in contemporary India. As it currently stands, the people that undergo treatment are those that definitively require treatment as a necessity. The attitude is one of cure over prevention.