PREVENTION is better than cure.
That's the message from Fiji Dental Association president Dr Vikash Singh as the world marks World Oral Health day today.
He said a recent dental survey in Fiji found that the three most common oral health problems were dental caries (decay), periodontitis (gum disease) and malocclusion (crooked teeth).
"Dental decay and gum disease, to a large extent, are preventable," Dr Singh said.
"If people make an effort to understand what causes these conditions and what they can do to prevent them, then it will greatly improve their oral health.
"Dental professionals will be able to help people and teach them about home care."
He said parents played a crucial role in the care of their children's oral health.
"Parents need to actively supervise how children brush at home and they need to lead by example.
"Unfortunately, most people visit dental professionals when they have a serious problem like severe pain which usually requires core complex treatment to rectify."
Dr Singh said this year's theme of celebrating healthy smiles calls for awareness because having healthy mouths are a cause for celebration.
"It is important to develop a habit of visiting the dentist for a regular check-up and fix problems at an early stage.
"The Fiji Dental Association wishes to encourage everyone to take part in this initiative to raise awareness and encourage people to take action to reduce all forms of oral diseases."