At least 96% of adults in Ghana within ages 35-44 years are affected by gum diseases, while another 40% of 12-year-olds suffer from decayed, missing teeth, stained teeth and bad breath.
These alarming details of Ghana’s deteriorating dental health challenges were revealed by the Managing Director of Unilever Ghana Yeo Ziobeieton, Monday on the occasion of the World Oral Health Day observed.
The situation is even worse in Africa as a whole. According to the Unilever MD, the continent is experiencing an oral crisis owing to the lack of fluoride in most toothpaste formulations and a serious absence of dental care and education amongst many Africans.
“In some countries, dental decay affects nearly 100% of adults and up to 90% of children,” he said, adding the situation has been compounded by a current dentist to population ratio of 1:150,000 with about “nine out of ten children aged 11-14 suffering dental cavities.”
Speaking at a grand durbar with school children to mark the world oral health day 2017, Yeo Ziobeieton said it is time to focus more attention on oral care.
The durbar was under the theme: “Live mouth smart-brush day and night” and it brought together more than 500 pupils drawn from Junior High Schools in Accra, including schools from Burma Camp, the Lady of Ascension school.
Yeo Ziobeieton challenged the pupils to live by the dictates of the theme for the occasion and called for a committed behavioral change if the war on gum diseases will be won.
As a result of that, Unilever Ghana, manufacturers of Pepsodent has begun the Pepsodent “brush day and night” campaign in schools with the hope of reaching over 7.5 million children and adults across the country.
“We will continue to invest in more of such initiatives because we are committed t protecting the Ghanaian smile for a lifetime,” he said.
He also cited the a 21-day behavioral change programme dubbed little brush, big brush campaign which seeks to help families with children to build better tooth brushing habits through fun and play.
The school pupils treated the audience to drama, singing drumming and dancing all of which were to drive home the need for better oral health care.
The president of the Ghana Dental Association Dr Asante Appiah in a statement to herald the World Oral Health Day said “we need to empower people to take control of their oral health throughout life, so they can enjoy a healthy mouth from childhood into their old age.”
On his part the Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu in his statement encouraged Ghanaians to take oral health seriously as it goes a long in supporting a healthy lifestyle and building the confidence needed to interact with others
He also commended oral health practitioners and Unilver Ghana for the effort put into the various educational initiatives aimed at improving oral health care delivery in the country.