[Unpad.ac.id, 11/01/2013] Many believe that dentists are only engrossed with taking care of patients at their clinics or hospitals. Dentists, as a matter of fact, also have the obligation to help the society increase their health condition.
Sri Susilawati, the chair of Community Oral Health Department (IKGM), Faculty of Dentistry (FKG) Unpad ini., argues that dentists should serve the society, at least the society that they live in. They should take part in integrated health service post, community early education program, or school dental health program. This is in accordance with the dentist code of ethics.
Many used to think that you only went to dentist only if your teeth hurt. But now, the society has become more and more aware of the importance of dental health. This is evident in UKGS program, an innovative program held in Indonesian schools, promoting personal hygiene. In the Philippines, UKGS is better known as Fit for School. Such program shows an outstanding level of success in preventing and diminishing dental caries. In addition, this also helps increase quality of life which can be measured by Oral Health-Related Quality of Life (OHRQ0L-Mod) Index.
Susilawati, who was born in Bandung, January 27, 1971, Indonesians have yet to brush their teeth properly, using the proper and right brushing technique. Study from Primary Health Research shows that the number only reaches 7.3% out of the total population.
“I am now modifying Oral Health Impact Profile Index which most researchers use to measure OHRQoL by paying closer attention to local habit. This will result in a measurement tool that is capable of assessing quality of life related to four dimensions, covering function, illness, psychology, and social role,” said she. Such measurement will enable dentists to assess quality of life of a number of community members aged 35-44, living in several cities in West Java province, namely Subang, Tasikmalaya, Cirebon, Cianjur and Bandung.
Oral health problems, Susi added, can be overcome if all stakeholders cooperate and create synergy. “The only obstacle that we are now facing is the people’s mindset which often overlooks the importance of oral health,” said she. As of today, the Ministry of Health, Republic of Indonesia and IKGM FKG Unpad are conducting collective research on the feasibility of implementing Fit for School in Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia. This collaborative research, in which Susilawati is the co-investigator, aims to find the influence of fit for school program towards children quality of life in general.
“Doctors orientation that used to put emphasis on curative aspect has now shifted to finding more preventive methods. This will accordingly benefit the research and enable me to give more counseling on oral health and its prevention,” she concluded.