Free dental checks for 100,000 people

The Hong Kong Dental Association said that during the Oral Health Week from May 9 to 14, it will provide free dental check-ups to 100,000 people.

Interested parties can inquire and make an appointment at the dentist or clinic displaying the Oral Health Week poster.

Chen Zhaoyi, president of the association, said: “As the age of gum disease patients in Hong Kong is getting younger, we call on the public to have their teeth checked regularly.”

Chan said 60% of Hong Kong adults have symptoms of gum disease, highlighting the need to raise oral health awareness among locals.

Periodontal disease can interfere with diabetes control and lead to heart disease, stomach cancer or other health problems, he said. He urged people to have regular oral checkups and teeth cleanings every six to 12 months.

Mr. Chen said that the event will provide free oral examinations and determine whether a one-time X-ray examination is required based on clinical diagnosis.

“After the examination, the dentist will provide an examination report. Members of the public should seek medical treatment based on their individual needs, but no other dental services will be provided during this event. [for free],” He said.

This campaign aims to enhance public awareness of daily oral care and develop the habit of regular oral check-ups.

Meanwhile, Mr Chan believes the manpower shortage problem in public dental services will be alleviated within three years, which is linked to immigration trends.

He said that in recent years, many mid-level employees in Hong Kong have emigrated overseas, which has had an impact on the dental industry.

The first batch of dental graduates from the University of Hong Kong have now reached retirement age, setting off a retirement boom in the industry.

Chen said the government has taken steps to address the problem. Given Hong Kong's slower pace of recovery from the current economic downturn, the development and expansion of the dental private market may also slow down.

He predicts that most dental graduates will naturally flow to the public hospital system, which will significantly alleviate the manpower problem within two to three years.

His comments came as the Audit Commission revealed on Wednesday that dental patients queued for up to seven hours for government dental services, while overall annual quotas have been slashed in half since the pandemic despite huge demand.

In its report, the government watchdog outlined the emergency dental services provided by the Ministry of Health, which are provided during public meetings at 11 government clinics.

Due to the epidemic and manpower shortage, the government dental service quota has been halved from the original 40,322 in 2018/19 to 20,337 in 2022/23, while the quota allocation rate has increased from 92.3% to 99.2%.

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