HANOI — A pilot phase of a salt fluoridation project will be implemented in Lao Cai province by the end of the year in an effort to improve oral health in Viet Nam, said Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen.
Xuyen was speaking at a three-day National Dental Congress and International Exhibition 2008 in Ha Noi, yesterday, which attracted 1,500 domestic and international health experts.
“Lao Cai will be the first province in Viet Nam, not to mention all of Asia, to use fluoridated salt to prevent tooth decay,” said Xuyen.
According to the last National Oral Health Survey, 85 per cent of children in Viet Nam are affected by tooth decay and, in adults the average number of decayed teeth is over 8. Due to the increase use of sugar and the limited practices of oral hygiene these numbers are expected to increase in the near future.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the provision of fluoridate as a viable treatment and prevention of decay. Salt is an appropriate carrier for fluoride and fluoridated salt is used in more than 40 countries in Europe and America. Evidence supports a relevant improvement in oral health.
The project is being carried out by WHO in collaboration with the National Institute of Odonto and Stomatology (NIOS) and the Viet Nam Salt Corporation.
“We hope Viet Nam will be the first country in Asia to introduce salt fluoridation and that this will serve as an example and inspiration for other countries in the region,” said Antonio Montresor, WHO representative in Viet Nam.
“A survey was conducted in December 2007 in Lao Cai and Ha Noi and showed the absence of fluorisis… The first test of fluoridation and iodisation will be conducted in October, 2008,” he added.
According to statistics of the NIOS, the national school dental programme has provided dental care for more than five million children nation-wide and covered eight provinces, including Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Hai Duong, Thai Nguyen, Hue, Lang Son, Da Nang and Tuyen Quang in Viet Nam.
Surgeons from NIOS are planning to offer patients advanced treatment in dental implants with support from Korean experts this month.
According to the institute’s director, Trinh Dinh Hai, Viet Nam carried out the first MDI in 1995 with support from Japanese dental experts. Five years later, the institute was able to carry out the procedure themselves and in 2006 was allowed by the Ministry of Health to open its department of dental implant.
The latest technology is expected to meet the demand of millions of people suffering from a host of teeth-related issues. — VNS