Prioritize oral care to ward off diseases, experts advise 

Sodiq Ojuroungbe

Health experts have advised Nigerians to prioritize oral care, stressing that most illnesses emanate from improper care of the mouth.

While advocating for proper care of the teeth from infancy, the experts said there is a need to take preventive measures against oral cancer, adding that regular visits to the hospital for appropriate should also be prioritized.

The medical practitioners made the call at the 20th anniversary and Public Lecture of SS Dental Clinic Limited held in Lagos.

The Chief Operating Officer of the clinic, Yetunde Oladejo, emphasized the importance of oral health and the need to pay great attention to it, especially from infancy, noting that it is the key indicator of overall health.

She implored Nigerians to pay regular visits to dentists, adding, “Teachers and parents alike should begin to check the teeth of children regularly every morning and evening, the way it was done many years ago.

“The point of contact with one another is the mouth, when people perceive an unpleasant smell from your mouth, you can imagine how they will look at you. But if your teeth smell good, they would like to communicate with you. Overall, it’s good to keep a healthy mouth just as we pay attention to other parts of our body.”

In her remarks, the National Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Sickle Cell Foundation- Nigeria, Dr. Annette Akinsete, said everyone in a family must be involved in dental hygiene, noting that the condition of the teeth goes a long way to determine the overall health of any human being.

While emphasising the importance of dental care, Akinsete stressed the need to keep the teeth not only clean in appearance but very healthy for use.

“Preventive measure is better than seeking a cure. When a child is very young, he or she should be taken care of. As the initial teeth start coming up, the whole family should be involved, including the child. He or she must be taught how to take care of the teeth because they grow up with it.

“Early detection is key as most sicknesses is found first from the mouth. So dentist should be consulted whenever necessary.”

A health educationist, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, also implored Nigerians to ensure regular screening for oral cancer, stressing that it is better than running around when the disease has already developed.

“Early detection is key. We should make an effort to go for regular screening and maintain a healthy lifestyle” she added.

Meanwhile, the Founder of the Marcelle Ruth Cancer & Specialist Hospital, Dr. Modupe Elebute – Odunsi, who was the guest speaker, reiterated the need for accurate data and record keeping of drugs, medical personnel, facilities and hospital equipment.

She noted that the accurate number of patients with different ailments and other relevant data as well as information in Nigerian health facilities and institutions will help for proper planning, informed decision making and policy design.

She said, “Data is key and we need it for planning, informed decision making and even policy design. If we don’t know the exact number of drugs, number of patients, facilities and equipment as well as medical personnel in our respective health facilities, how can we make headway in our health sector? So our public health facilities from primary level to tertiary level levels should have accurate data for end users to work with.”

 

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