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Ngiting Protektado, Ngiting Panalo | Dental Health Month 2023

February is designated as Philippine Dental Health Month by Presidential Proclamation No. 559, which then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo issued. This celebration aims to educate the general public about the significance of good dental health. It encourages dentists, students, government agencies, and professional organizations to reach out to more individuals who do not have access to dental care.

This year's theme is “Ngiting Protektado, Ngiting Panalo,” which aims to strengthen awareness and reiterate the importance of good oral hygiene habits by reaching out to all Filipinos to keep their teeth, gums, and entire mouth healthy.

Oral health is an important element in human morbidity all around the world. Despite its direct influence on employees' quality of life and health, occupational health must be addressed. Organizations can show their commitment to a healthy working environment by addressing employees' oral health and well-being. Introducing healthy initiatives can improve working conditions that can benefit the organization and its employees resulting in increasing productivity and reducing staff sickness while keeping staff happy.

Making oral health and well-being an essential part of an organization’s working environment can make employees feel valued, satisfied, and open to talking about things before they reach breaking point.

According to research by Roberto Brasil Lima and Alexander Buarque (2019), oral problems accounted for 9 to 27% of cases of sickness absence and 28 to 50% of presenteeism, with toothache and temporomandibular joint pain as the most frequent reasons. About 50% of workers prefer company-provided dental care, while 40% visit public and 10% other facilities. Despite the high prevalence of oral diseases, orofacial pain was not associated with high rates of absenteeism but mainly with presenteeism. Workers do not tend to miss work days, but their performance is reduced, and they become susceptible to more serious health problems in the future.

Thus, they concluded that oral health is not dissociated from general and occupational health, and as such, it must be enhanced and duly promoted in an integrated manner. Effective and comprehensive oral health promotion and prevention, public policies, and private sector actions in the workplace can enhance workers' quality of life.

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