By Gracious George
The World Oral Health Day which falls on March 20 every year, aims to spread the message on oral hygiene and health, thereby reducing the prevalence of oral diseases in the world.
This year, the FDI World Dental Federation unveiled the three-year theme (2021 – 2023), “Be Proud of Your Mouth” which aims at motivating people to value and take care of their mouths thereby protecting their general health.
The theme emphasizes the need to take care of the mouth consciously, as it is a gateway to the body, and has a huge impact on overall health and well being.
Statistics show that over 3.5 Billion people suffer from one form of oral diseases or the other hence, the FDI organises this annual event to spread awareness around the world.
Oral diseases include tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, bad breath, and oral cancer, with various illness having symptoms that show up in the mouth.
In Nigeria, the high burden of oral health diseases and poor coordination of oral health services necessitated the development of the Oral Health Policy (OHP) in November 2012 to decrease the oral disease burden.
However, there has been challenges of inadequate resources for the immediate implementation of the policy and advocacy to the government and other stakeholders to do what is necessary to achieve success in the area.
It therefore behoves on individuals to make their oral health a priority and spread awareness for others to do same, thereby achieving better health.
Causes of oral disease include smoking, poor brushing habits, frequent intake of sugary foods and drinks, family history/genetics and infections such as HIV/AIDS.
Symptoms of oral disease are ulcers/sores in the mouth, bleeding or swollen gums after brushing or flossing, sudden sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or beverages, toothache, receding gums and frequent dryness of the mouth.
People with such symptoms are encouraged to regularly visit the dentist for immediate diagnosis and treatment to avoid it from being manifested.
Oral disease can be prevented by brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing your teeth at least once a day, decreasing your intake of sugar, avoiding tobacco products, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables amongst others.