Ghanaians urged to prioritise oral health

Ghanaians have been advised to prioritise oral health because it is a causative factor for systematic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and respiratory problems.

They must frequent the dentist to ensure that preventive measures were put in place to protect the primary teeth, as well as early detection of orofacial deformities.

The Officer- in-charge of the Dental Division at the 37 Military Hospital, Colonel HaliduSalifuAyinga, said this at this year’s celebration of World Oral Hygiene Day (WOHD), organised by the Duala Medical Centre in Burma Camp on Monday. 

 It was held on the theme “Be proud of your mouth for a lifetime of smiles.”

He underscored the need for parents to take their children on regular visits to the dentist at an early age to detect any dental health-related diseases, and address them before they become worse. 

He noted that dental health was a major health concern in the country as at least 80 per cent of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 years were affected by gum diseases, while another 40 per cent of 12-year-old suffer from decayed, missing teeth, stained teeth and bad breath.

“Oral diseases negatively impact people throughout their lives, causing pain, discomfort, social isolation and loss of self-esteem. Most oral health conditions are largely preventable,” he explained. 

He expressed worry over the lack of coordination between Oral Health Education and Public Health as far as policy was concerned. 

“There are tremendous opportunities for prevention to significantly reduce the morbidity associated with oral health diseases if we synchronise policy and work together,” he emphasised.  

The FDI World Dental Federation (WDF) Ambassador, Dr Louisa Satekele, noted that Ghana was making strides in ensuring improved dental care in the country, however,more needed to be done in the rural areas.   

She hinted that the WDF and the Ghana Dental Association’s desire to partner the government and all stakeholders to ensure equal access to quality dental care for all Ghanaians. 

She added that on the occasion of WOHD “let us take a moment to reflect on the importance of good oral health and renew our commitment to promoting good oral hygiene practices, to ensure that every Ghanaian has a beautiful smile.” 

A Clinical Health Psychologist, Ms Anita Paddy, said bad dental hygiene could lead to “Halitophobia” (also known as the fear of having bad breath) which was a form of mental health problem.

She explained that if the phobia was not quickly addressed, it could lead to low self-esteem and eventually suicide.

“We the professionals at the therapy and wellness department can assist you by recommending further tests to clear the doubt of halitosis and subsequently counselling,” she explained.   

The Ceremony was climaxed with a free dental health screening of military personnel and civilians within the Burma Camp enclave.


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