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Oral health condition of the Maya community

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Summary: Chapter 9. If My Tooth Hurts, I Pull It Out Tooth Decay is a challenge to many people since it inevitable without treatment. Although it is not viewed as a health challenge, tooth decay is tragic due to the pain it causes. Moreover, it is an indicator of overall good health. In the United States, poor oral health is a considered as an epidemic. This chapter discusses a research that was conducted in Santa Catarina to assess the oral health condition of the Maya community. The research was controlled by the idea that the number of permanent teeth indicated world quality of life while missing teeth indicated an index of periodontal health. The research examined health indicators such as periodontal diseases, restoration, and missing teeth.Research MethodsThe research used data collection strategies such as informal interviews, epidemiological analysis, surveys, and clinical observations. Interviews helped the researcher to obtain cultural beliefs and attitudes related to oral health care. The epidemiological analysis involved getting correlations between occupation, education, religion, income and level of oral health. The study was conducted on a sample of 60 participants, 36 females, and 24 males and with an average age of 40.2 and 44.3 respectively. The respondents were of different occupations, different education levels, different religions and different income levels.Description of Oral health in Antigua IxtahuacanThe results of the study showed that missing teeth correlated significantly to age. Gender, religion, income and education levels were not related significantly related to missing teeth. The samples used had restored their teeth using amalgamate filings, bridges, full dentures or crowns.Periodontal diseases occur in four stages. 1. Color change on gums, 2. Gums bleed, 3. Gums become sensitive, 4. Oral lesions appear. 45 % of the respondents showed two or more signs while 10% showed all the signs. 16% of the participants showed five symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Most of the respondents did not have access to preventive health. Instead, they used reactionary care that is extraction of teeth either by themselves or by minimally educated participants. Interviewees had different reactions on tooth extraction. However, a larger percentage preferred tooth extraction since it eliminated acute pain. 54 respondents were aware that failing to brush their teeth was a cause of their teeth problems.The level of healthcare among the respondents was dependent on their income level. The respondents either visited an odontologo or a dentista depending on how much money they had. The condition in the two differed in terms of qualification of the doctor, equipment, workspace and even aesthetic appearance of the facility. Some respondents found it expensive to purchase toothbrushes. Moreover, they could not afford dental care and thus waited until their teeth fell off. The few dentists in the region receive many patients’ especially on market days, and most patients seek tooth extraction despite contrary dentist’s advice.ConclusionThe quality of oral health in Antigua Ixtahuacan is low since the residents of the area have little access to qualified professional dentists. The residents lack the knowledge of understanding that tooth extraction is not the best option for dental care. The facilities for dental care were below average. Solution to improve the condition in the area includes donated dental supplies and free dental checkups from time to time. Initiatives to improve the overall health care in the region will improve the quality of life of the residents Works CitedAdams, Walter R, and John P. Hawkins.Health Care in Maya Guatemala: Confronting Medical Pluralism in a Developing Country. Norman, Okl: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 2007. Print.