… as Nigeria marks World Oral Health Day
As Nigerians joined the rest of the world to mark the 2017 World Oral Health Day on Monday, members of the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Yaba, (NARHY) took to the street of Lagos to draw attention to key messages of the Day and the need for people to pay more attention to their mouth.
The Walk which took off from the Hospital to other major streets in Yaba was marked with participants handing over tooth brushes and pastes to commuters and residents within the neighbourhood to sensitise them on the need to regularly brush their teeth after breakfast
and the last thing at night in order to remove food debris from their mouth.
Speaking at the event, the Commander , NARHY, Brigadier Gen. Nathan Okeji who is also the Chief Consultant, obstetrician and gynecologist in the hospital, said: “Today’s event is to commemorate World Oral Health Day. It is a day that is marked out worldwide for creating awareness among people who have not known the importance of taking care of their mouth which is the gateway to many things we do to do the body. So there is every need for us to take care of our mouths to protect ourselves from germs and some diseases.
“Nigerian Army medical corps has decided to key into today as an occasion to enlighten the public, especially the military personnel and those who are around us, about the fact that the mouth is the gateway to the whole body and the theme of this year’s celebration says ‘Live Mouth Smart,”‘
Explaining the theme, Lt. Col. Blessing Isoke George, head of NARHY Dental Department said:
“We are trying to let the world know that just like we have smart phones in the world today, we should also leave the mouth smart because when you are smart in the mouth that means you are able to know whenever there is any problem in the mouth for there to be early diagnosis.
“In fact, our aim is prevention – prevention of oral diseases that can cause problems to the whole body. When the mouth is smart, it means the whole body is smart. So when we learn to leave the mouth smart, it means that we are able to obey the fact that we brush twice a day – after breakfast and the last thing at night and then we should visit a dental clinic twice a year for check up and then for professional scaling and polishing which will keep the mouth healthy.
“We can always have oral health check to discover so many diseases in the body state because so many of them (diseases) manifest in the mouth before they even show in the body. So if we leave the mouth smart, and we are able to have our regular checks we will find out that a lot of the diseases that take the lives of so many people can be nipped in the bud and so we will fulfill that adage that says ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. When we are able to make diagnosis through the mouth, the conditions will be treated in their early stage and they will not result in life threatening conditions later in life, she averred.
Lt. Col George, who is also a consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, however identified the prevalent oral health challenge facing Nigerians as periodontal disease which she said is due to accumulation of calculus (dental plaque) as a result of poor brushing habit.
“Some of them can have dental conditions like caries that can develop into Ludwig’s angina and other diseases that can come from the mouth,” she said, adding that people should make water their best drink, avoid sugary things, eat more of fruits and vegetable and visit the dental clinic twice a year.