Tooth decay and other dental health problems have remained the number one health scourge of millions of students in public schools in the country.

The Department of Education’s Health and Nutrition Center (DepEd-HNC) reported that dental check-ups conducted under its Universal Medical and Dental Check-up campaign found that 70.51 percent or 1,657,776 students suffered from dental caries or serious tooth decay.

The campaign, which covered some 2.389 million students of public elementary schools from January to June this year, highlighted the observance of Oral Health Week this week.

Of the number, 541,693 students had other oral health problems such as root fragments, retained deciduous teeth, malocclusion, calcular deposit, gingivitis, decubital ulcer, fluorosis, supernumerary teeth, stomatitis, periodontal disease or pyorrhea, and cleft lip/cleft palate, the DepEd said.

Next to tooth decay and dental problems, the most common health problem of public school children is pediculosis or head lice infestation, followed by respiratory infection, skin diseases, and anemia.

A medical check-up of some 3.376 million public school children from pre-elementary to Grade 6 from January to June this year showed that 436,325 or 13 percent of the students examined had pediculosis; 404,011 or 12.71 percent suffered from respiratory infection or diseases; 391,331 or 12.32 percent had skin diseases; and 148,278 or 4.67 percent had anemia or iron deficiency.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said the DepEd is taking concrete action to address the serious dental health problem among public school children.

Lapus said that DepEd’s recognition of the need to promote oral health in public schools is the reason that it is observing Oral Health Week.

Lapus said that DepEd and its private sector partner in Oral Health Week, Colgate-Palmolive Philippines Inc. (CPPI), would continue to promote the “7 o’clock habit” of tooth brushing in public schools this year.

Paul Mari Soriano, DepEd’s Adopt-A-School program director, said that the CPPI had already given 2.7 million toothbrushes and toothpaste to Grade 1 students in public schools this year.

Soriano said that aside from CPPI, other organizations, such as the Global Child Dental Health Task Force (GCDHT), also provided toothbrushes and toothpaste for millions of students from Grades 2 to 6.

“While our grade one pupils are guaranteed a year’s supply of toothbrushes and toothpaste through Colgate-Palmolive’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) program, the GCDHT will assist DepEd in the funding for toothpaste and toothbrushes of students in Grades 2 to 6,” Soriano said.

Dr. Richell Corilla, DepEd Dental Health Division head, said that it is important to promote the habit of tooth brushing.

Also to help DepEd address the poor dental health of public school students, CPPI made a donation for the establishment of a “Beacon Center” or a BSBF Center of Excellence that will serve as a hub where DepEd and partner institutions can plan, fine-tune and launch programs that promote oral health among children.

Lapus said that the Beacon Center is a place where visiting children can access educational materials including print and film on oral health care.

Lapus and CPPI president and general manager Lucie Claire Vincent, DepEd Undersecretary Vilma Labrador Soriano, CPPI marketing director Bong David, BSBF manager Jac Saez, and GCDHT director Dr. Raman Bedi formally opened the center yesterday morning.



In their June 27, 2008 Press Release, the Southampton City Primary Care Trust wrote:

Notes for Editors:

1. Countries with fluoridation schemes in operation

Countries around the world with schemes to adjust the natural fluoride content of their water to the optimum level for dental health include: Ireland, Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Peru, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Fiji, Libya and Israel.


According to:

Wikipedia (as of Oct 7, 2008): the Philippines and India do not fluoridate water. [SOURCE: Ingram, Colin. (2006). The Drinking Water Book. pp. 15-16.]

Lennon, Whelton, O’Mullane, Ekstrand (2004): TABLE 1: 6.5% of the population of the Philippines receives fluoridated water (5 million out of a population of 77.1 million)

FDI World Dental Federation (2000): “Artificial levels of fluoride (fluoride added to water) population served (millions): None”

Peralta & Ohgaki (2007): “Elevated level of fluoride in groundwater was found in the coastal areas of Cavite City, Noveleta, Bacoor and Kawit. Cavite City is 34 Km south of Manila.”

S. Rajchagool: “The Philippines: There are reports on high level of fluoride in water in Cavite (1.1-2.1 mg/L) and Kawit (0.3-2.0 mg/l) and the prevalence of dental fluorosis in Cavite is 89% and 58.5% in Kawit.”

FDI World Dental Federation (2000): “In certain areas in Luzon, natural fluoride content of water is high. Areas such as Cavite, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija in Luzon and in Bukidnon in Mindanao.”