World Oral Health Day: NGO, NDA takes campaign to FCT suburbs

In commemoration of the 2022 World Oral Health Day, the Centre for School Health Education and Environmental Hygiene (CSHEEH), in collaboration with the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA)- FCT Chapter and Unilever, has sensitised pupils of LEA Primary School, Gbagalape, FCT, on maintaining good oral hygiene.

Speaking to participants at the event held Wednesday, the Executive Director of CSHEEH, Dr (Mrs) Momoh Folasade Olusola, said that the choice of the school is as a result of its being in a neglected and underprivileged community that is always overlooked by authorities and therefore hardly benefit from outreaches. 

She said: “The theme for the 2022 World Oral Health Day is BE PROUD OF YOUR MOUTH. Being proud of your mouth is not about having a perfect mouth; it is about having a healthy one. The World Oral Health Day is marked annually on March 20 and provides a platform to make a difference in the lives of people everywhere.

“We opted for today to celebrate the day, because the date for this year’s celebration fell on a Sunday, when schools are not in session. Also, the choice of LEA Primary School, Gbagalape, is as a result of its underprivileged nature. It is out of town, hence many people hardly come here. As a result, they’re neglected and therefore deserve our care.

“Poor oral health affects nearly 3.5 billion of people worldwide and has far reaching consequences, yet people tend not to realize the severe impact an unhealthy mouth can have on their life. It can cause significant pain and suffering, affecting what you eat, how you speak and how you feel about yourself (i.e. your self-esteem), leading to an impaired quality of life.”

She added: “On this World Oral Health Day 2022, we are asking everyone to take meaningful action to help end the neglect of global oral health. We want people to value and take care of their oral health and to make the right decisions to protect it. We want teachers to integrate oral health into school lessons and help empower children to practice healthy behavior now and in the future.

“Oral health is very important for many reasons. A healthy mouth allows you to speak, smile, taste, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and diseases, e.g. tooth decay. Anunhealthy mouth can restrict your capability to perform these everydayfunctions, which affects your happiness and wellbeing.

“It is against this background that our organization is ioining other stakeholders all over the world on this global observance to raise awareness amongst school children on the need for proper oral hygiene.”

Also speaking, a consultant orthodontist at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) and the NDA President, FCT Chapter, Dr Olatunji Abdulkarim, said that Nigeria has about 3,500 registered dental doctors to cater for over 200 million Nigerians, lamenting that many dental doctors have accepted offers outside the shores of the country as a result of neglect by the federal government; with regards to their remuneration. 

“As human beings, we have tissue covering the mouth and it needs to be healthy. If the mouth is not clean, the rest of the body will be unhealthy, because you feed through the mouth. Whatever you put in the mouth will go into your body with all the dirt in your mouth. We should always brush twice a day: when we wake and when we’re about to go to bed. We should also brush our tongue gently.

“Sadly, we don’t have enough dental doctors in Nigeria. Out of the 3,500 registered dental doctors in Nigeria, more than half are practising in foreign countries, as a result of poor remuneration by the government. Therefore, there is need for government to look into the welfare of dental doctors; in order for more doctors to cater for over 200 million Nigerians,” he said. 

Highlight of the event was the distribution of toothpaste, tooth brushes and enlightenment materials to all the pupils and staff of the school. 

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