Taipei--The Ministry of Health and Welfare is planning to set up a dental hospital -- the first of its kind in Taiwan -- as part of the government's efforts to reduce the prevalence of oral diseases among citizens.
The project is part of the ministry's five-year "oral health promotion plan" that starts this year following approval by the National Development Council on Jan. 9.
According to Deputy Health Minister Ho Chi-kung (???), tooth decay is a more serious problem among children in Taiwan than in neighboring countries.
Surveys conducted over the past five years have found that on average, children aged 12 and under in Taiwan have 2.5 decayed teeth, compared with 0.6 in Singapore, 0.9 in Japan and 1.8 in South Korea, Ho said.
Among Taiwanese children aged 5 and under, only 20.7 percent do not have decayed teeth, while in developed countries the figure is 80 percent, he said.
Besides promoting better oral health, the hospital will also offer higher quality treatment for senior citizens and people with complicated dental problems, Ho said.
Other initiatives under the "oral health promotion plan" include providing free fluoride varnish for children and senior citizens, educating adults about oral health and improving emergency dental care, the deputy minister said.
He said the health ministry will also launch an oral disease prevention and control program aimed at high-risk individuals such as those who smoke or chew betel nuts, will train dental specialists to treat people with special needs and will introduce outpatient dental services for patients with disabilities.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel