More than 100 dentists from across the country gathered in Phnom Penh Wednesday for the second joint scientific summit of the Cambodian Dental Association and the International Dental Federation, with calls for improving oral health through new studies and technology.
The legitimacy of the dental industry has been called into question recently, due to an increase in private practices and a general social trend toward oral hygiene, said conference organizer Hem Chhin. He said some dentists and their assistants have been known to neglect their moral obligations and are guilty of malpractice.
Hem Chhin expressed concern for members of the public who—unarmed with accurate information—seek the help of illegitimate health practitioners in their bid for personal care. He said people with low education levels may choose the wrong dentist. “They can never be sure who is the real dentist,” he said.
There are now 371 licensed dentists in Cambodia, Minister of Health Dr Hong Sun Huot said.
“We still consider the health of our people as the most important agenda for responding to the agenda of poverty eradication and the implementation of reform programs in all fields,” said Prince Norodom Sirivudh.
He explained that good dental health contributes to one’s overall well-being.
Prince Sirivudh said that if people practiced healthy dental habits, they would project a beautiful smile and face, inspiring them to sing and speak clearly. This in turn, he said, could improve one’s socioeconomic status and ensure social stability.
Lack of dental hygiene reflects a larger physical and emotional lethargy, the prince said. He said people with unhealthy dental habits also suffer from boredom, minimal assets and strained mutual relations.