Nov 27, 2006 (LBO) – Over half of Sri Lanka’s 19.5 million population suffer from dental problems ranging from cavities to cancer, due to poor oral hygiene and excessive use of fizzy drinks and junk food, the dental authority warned Tuesday. President of Sri Lanka Dental Association (SLDA) Dr Kumar Warnakula says the most prevalent oral diseases are dental decay and gum problems.

Issues as oral cancer and irregular formation of teeth are also prevalent dental problems in Sri Lanka, which has around 1,600 registered dentists.

Bad brushing habits, too much fizzy drinks and snacking on sweets are the prime factors for dental problems here, consultant dental surgeon, Priyangi Konthasingha said.

However, the accessibility and the cost of dental care are still further down people™s priority list, according to findings in the upcoming national oral health survey, she said.

Survey shows that around 43 percent of children in their early teens and 73 percent of adults (35-44 years) suffer from dental decay in Sri Lanka.

Around 25 percent aged above 12 years suffer from different stages of gum disease.

Warnakula says the SLDA raises the alarm whenever they conduct free dental care programmes which are aimed at educatin