NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 — Unilever’s toothpaste brand, Pepsodent, in collaboration with Kenya Dental Association marked World Oral Health Day , with a campaign to educate Kenyans on oral hygiene.
The brand, through its school activation programme, reached out to over 35,000 children across the country, teaching them the health benefits of oral hygiene. World Oral Health Day is marked annually on March 20 across the globe with the aim of highlighting the benefits of a healthy mouth and promoting worldwide awareness of issues around oral health.
Speaking at Olympic Primary School in Nairobi, Unilever Marketing Director Pawan-Kumar Marella said, “We know that reinforcing good tooth brushing habits in children sets them up for better oral health in the future, which in turn leads to better overall health outcomes.”
The campaign was carried out in 33 public primary schools across Kenya with the aim of educating young children on the importance of oral hygiene. The pupils were also educated on the importance of brushing morning and evening using toothpaste.
According to a report by NHS Tayside, it is estimated that more than one billion people do not use fluoride toothpaste, and over three billion do not brush their teeth twice a day. The result is that Africa is in the throes of an oral health crisis, where dental decay affects nearly 100 per cent of adults and up to 90 per cent of children.
In Kenya, about 70.2 per cent of children avoid visiting a dentist mainly because of pain or discomfort as indicated by the Kenya National Oral Health Survey of 2015. Furthermore, untreated tooth decay can have a serious and long-lasting effect on children’s growth, brain development and overall health. With many children consequently missing out on school and social opportunities, they can fail to reach their full potential in life.
Pepsodent in partnership with World Dental Federation (FDI) is on a mission to reach 25 million school-children in Africa by 2020 with face-to-face engagement, through its school oral health programmes, teaching them when and how best to brush their teeth for optimal oral health, today and later in life.
“It is wonderful to see so many people from all walks of life coming together today to share the message of oral hygiene on World Oral Health Day,” said Dr Andrew Wetende, Chairman Kenya Dental Association.
“In Kenya, we are facing serious oral health hygiene concerns and the more people learn to care for their mouths, the happier and healthier our communities will be. KDA is grateful to have the opportunity to help patients make informed and confident decisions about their oral health, including the use of clinically proven oral care products,” concluded Dr Wetende.
This year’s theme for Unilever World Oral Health Day is “Live Mouth Smart-Brush Day And Night” and, Marella said, “we need to empower more people to take control of their oral health – throughout their life – so they can enjoy a healthy, functional mouth from childhood into old age. Maintaining optimal oral health into old age ensures you live not only a longer life, but also one free from the physical pain and often emotional suffering caused by oral diseases.”
Meanwhile, Pepsodent has introduced a mobile phone based behaviour change campaign dubbed Little Brush, Big Brush to help families with children build better tooth-brushing habits through fun and play. This will be delivered on people’s mobile phones through Facebook Messenger.