‘Unaffordability, inaccessibility pose the greatest challenge to oral health industry’, Health News, ET HealthWorld

'Unaffordability, inaccessibility pose the greatest challenge to oral health industry'In an interaction with ETHealthworld’s Rashmi Mabiyan, Harminder Singh Multani, CEO, MyDentalPlan Healthcare discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the oral care perception in India.

Do you see COVID-19 lead behavioral change enabling good oral hygiene?
Post-COVID, consumer hygiene has received increased attention. People have become especially concerned with their personal health and hygiene, which includes dental and oral hygiene. An enormous impact has also been seen on the diet plan. The majority of individuals have begun to adopt healthy, balanced eating habits to boost their immunity. Due to these factors, the oral care market is projected to increase from 45.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 to 53.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2025. The changing lifestyle of the population has given rise to numerous new diseases, necessitating the use of mouthwashes, rinses, and dental adhesives to maintain oral health.

How is the dental care industry evolving in India?

Increasing knowledge and awareness among individuals regarding dental aids and other treatments that aim to promote personal health and cleanliness is crucial in expanding the oral care market. Oral health is frequently regarded as a reflection of overall health. It is a vantage point for detecting early indications of various diseases. Early intervention can improve the identification of these diseases and oral problems. Oftentimes, neglecting oral health results in tooth loss. Despite the consequences, oral health awareness remains low in India. People are more aware of oral health thanks to scientific advancements and improved oral health products, but we still have a long way to go. Cosmetic whitening products, which were uncommon in the past, are now regularly acquired and utilized. Companies have created more user-friendly products due to a growing understanding of the significance of excellent oral hygiene.

What are the challenges faced by the oral health industry? How is MDP working towards solving them?
Unaffordability and inaccessibility pose the greatest challenge to the oral health industry. The disparate pricing makes it more challenging for patients to take their oral health concerns seriously. At MyDentalPlan, the network of India’s best dentists, across the country makes it much simpler for residents of tier 2 and tier 3 to receive timely treatment for oral health problems. No one’s wallet is affected by standardized prices and affordable care.

Insurance companies have started to include oral care in their healthcare packages. How do you see the scenario of dental insurance in India now?
Rising healthcare costs can drain anyone’s savings. It’s fantastic to have oral care included in healthcare packages. India has the largest democracy. But around 70 per cent of Indians have zero accessibility to oral health services. Things are changing now. Insurance companies have started to include dental services in their insurance plans, they can strive to bring oral health into mainstream medicine. Dental insurance can percolate at grass root levels and would serve as a good motivation for people regularly to visit a dentist and get their oral health checked.

What are MDP’s plans for growth and expansion in FY22-23?
We continue to drive dental insurance in India and find a way to bring down the cost of dental services. Our target is to increase our network to 10,000 clinics by the end of FY 2023. We are also working on upgrading our services with the help of dentists.

In the upcoming year, the client base will also increase. The empanelled dentists are already serving 60 clients per day, and we aim to take this number to 300 in the near future. We are working on growing our physical presence and striving to serve our patients and dentists better.

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