Health

December 12, 2019, 3:55 pm

The anguish of the “tooth losing village”

(17:30:04 PM 05/05/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - The children of this Hoa Dinh Tay Commune were born normal like any others. However, by the age of 10, teeth start to change their color and wear out. The predominant belief is that the culprit in this plague is an unsafe water source in the village.


 

All the boys and girls who are born and grow up in this village in Phu Yen Province suffer from dental problems. The lucky ones experience severe discoloration of their teeth, while others must endure the decay and eventual loss of their teeth.Locals, ashamed of their appearances, are often hesitant to communicate with outsiders. The village, despite its official name of Xom Mia, has been dubbed the “tooth losing village”.Nguyen Quoc Lam, 45, said he does not like communicating with strangers. “I don’t go out often. I only go to work in the rice fields and then hide myself at home,” he said. He cautioned reporters to tread lightly when approaching his neighbors, who suffer from a collective inferiority complex.Nguyen Thi Tran is 34 years old, but only six teeth remain in her mouth. Two have worn out and the other four have turned black. Her teeth began changing color when she was 20 and things have only gotten worse since then.Tran said many others in the village share her plight. When reporters met Tien, 42, he was having lunch with family members huddled around a pot of rice gruel with pork.Tien said he had to cut the pork into tiny pieces, allowing him to swallow his meal without chewing. He has been eating rice soup in place of cooked rice for the past year. All four family members have seen their teeth lost. The luckiest of them has 25 teeth left, the unluckiest only 8.“I dare not sing songs at weddings, laugh or open my mouth at parties. I worry that others will lose their appetites if they see my black teeth,” Tien fretted.Many members of Tien’s community have spent heavily on improving their teeth, he said. After harvest, some sell their rice to have money with which to buy dentures. It’s not uncommon for Vietnamese to prefer to have sons, but here in the village there is a heightened anxiety about having girls. Parents fear daughters growing up to be unmarriageable because of their unattractive oral appearance.Nguyen Thi Bach, 17, said she has spent VND5 million on false teeth, which helped her feel more self-confident in public. However, she said she must return to the odontology clinic every few years, or the teeth will still turn black.Anecdotal evidence indicates that only those who were born in the area in the last 40 years suffer from the strange disease. Moreover, the problem seems not to affect those who are born elsewhere and later settle down in the village.

Source: VNN
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