Health workers and other stakeholders in the oral health care sector across the country today joined in activities to mark the celebration of World Oral Health Day which falls on the 20th of March, each year. Unilever Ghana led the ceremony through Ghana’s favourite oral care brand, Pepsodent, at the International Trade Fair Centre to observe the day. The ceremony which attracted over 5000 persons, highlighted the importance of brushing one’s teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, like Pepsodent, to avoid decay.
This year’s celebrations was under the theme “Live MOUTH SMART”
It is estimated that more than 1 billion people do not use fluoride toothpastes and over 3 billion do not brush their teeth twice a day. Globally, Africa is in the midst of an oral health crisis, where dental decay affects nearly 100% of adults and up to 90% of children. In Ghana, 40% of 12 year olds suffer from decayed, missing teeth, stained teeth and bad breath. This is still high considering that, 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.
Managing Director of Unilever Ghana, Yeo Ziobeieton, who addressed the gathering assured that “Unilever believes behavioural change is the key to more frequent brushing and better oral health. That is why in Africa, Pepsodent aims to reach 25 million children face to face with oral health improvement programmes by 2020. And as of January 2017, we had already reached more than 4.1 million children across nine countries.”
President of the Ghana Dental Association, Dr Asante Appiah 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 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 disease.”
Minister for Health, Honourable Kweku Agyemang Manu, encouraged Ghanaians to take oral health seriously as it goes a long way in supporting a healthy lifestyle and building the confidence needed to interact with others. He also commended oral health practitioners and Unilever Ghana for the effort put into the various educational initiatives aimed at improving oral health care delivery in the country.
Ghana’s leading oral care brand, Pepsodent, used the occasion to launch a new mobile driven campaign called Little Brush Big Brush to the general public. Little Brush Big Brush is a 21-day behavioural change programme to help families with children build better tooth brushing habits through fun and play. This is delivered on people’s mobile phones through Facebook Messenger. Combining strong storytelling and cutting-edge technology, Little Brush Big Brush is an animated story, which comprises of 21 episodes featuring animal characters that help children develop good brushing habits for life. Pepsodent plans to use this innovation to reach even more families.
Pepsodent and The FDI are celebrating 10 years of partnership. In the latest phase of this partnership, successful activities have been implemented in local partnerships between National Dental Associations and Unilever oral care brands across the globe.