As seafarers spend long periods of time onboard ships, they are unable to visit a doctor for check-ups when required. Dental care is a common issue that the crew faces while at sea. In a worst-case scenario, dental problems require urgent medical treatment or even the repatriation of seafarers.
When a dental issue arises, it usually affects seafarers’ work productivity and performance, while it also influences their concentration and leads to a safety risk.
What is really hiding behind dental problems?
The main causes of dental problems are:
- Tendency to consume highly caffeinated, energy and sugary drinks due to the long working hours onboard
- Unhealthy and untimely snacking
- High levels of nicotine inhalation
Seafarers must pay attention to their dental health and take care of their teeth to avoid periodontal (gum) disease.
The pain relief medicines onboard are a temporary solution as they don’t fix the overall problem. A dental problem can worsen if its symptoms are not observed early.
Specifically, the symptoms include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding or tender gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose or sensitive teeth
As the dental care systems vary from port to port, the quality of care may also differ from region to region.