NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – As the world’s most prevalent chronic disease, tooth decay affects between 60 to 90 percent of teenagers and adults, according to a recent study by the World Health Organisation.
The Ministry of Medical Services and the Kenya Dental Association partnered with Colgate Palmolive to mark the World Oral Health Day as part of its continued efforts in sensitising the public on the importance of dental health care.
More than 500 children were treated with a dental check up at Dagoretti Special School and Children’s Home on Monday, as part of the day’s celebrations.
Ministry of Medical Services Permanent Secretary Mary Wairimu Ngari said oral health continues to be a big problem in most African countries, with Kenya not spared.
“In order to raise awareness of the importance of oral health and improve access to dental care; awareness programs should be initiated to reduce oral health problems such as gum diseases and tooth decay. It is also important to increase people’s knowledge about brushing and rinsing the teeth and seeing dentists for regular check-ups.”
The PS added that the government is determined to ensure that Kenyans understand the implications of poor dental care and making certain that proper precautions are taken.
Oral diseases and other non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases share many common risk factors, in particular, tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol and poor diet, especially over consumption of sugar.
Statistics from Colgate showed that on average Kenyans consume 32mls of toothpaste per capita, which translated to brushing roughly only once in nine days.
Having partnered with the Ministry of Medical Services, Ministry of Education and the Kenya Dental Association since the 1980s Colgate Palmolive has had a strong presence promoting oral health in the local market.
Colgate Palmolive General Manager Santhosh Raghunathan, said initiatives like Colgate’s flagship Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program reinforce the company’s 40 year commitment to continue promoting the importance of oral health through education and prevention.
The program will reach over 500,000 children in low economic areas throughout Kenya, distributing toothpaste and toothbrush samples.
Other dental checkups will be held in Eldoret Town from September 19 to 24 where the Ministry of Medical Services and Colgate are targeting to reach over 22,000 children.