Ahead of World Oral Health Day, NDA, Unilever seek to bridge the brushing behaviour gap

Nothing makes a patient healthier than an amazing set of healthy habits. Unfortunately, healthy habits are not always the easiest to come by. This is, especially, true for habits build around oral routine. While we all know how to keep our mouths healthy, there are very few, who are up to the challenge of maintaining impeccable oral health habit.

Brushing the teeth is one of the best habits that can be developed. However, many people’s habits with tooth brushing are bad. Hence, dentists and dental therapists are often asked the question, ‘what should be done to keep the teeth clean and free of diseases?’ It is on this premise that the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), has recommended that people brush their teeth twice daily, using a fluoride toothpaste for fresh breath and to avoid dental diseases such as tooth decay, swollen gums, bad breath, sensitivity and tooth stains.

According to a research by NDA, the root of all dental evils is dental plaque, which is a sticky colourless film composed of bacteria, food debris and saliva. Dental plaque accumulates on your teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque and food particles interact with sugars and starches we eat. This forms an acid that will eat away the enamel of our teeth and lead to dental caries/tooth decay.

The body noted that plaque, though can’t be rinsed off but can be removed by proper tooth brushing. And when it becomes hardened, it is known as tartar/calculus, which can only be removed by professional dental cleaning called scaling and polishing.

It further explained that poor oral hygiene would cause swollen gums, which may bleed. Eventually with time, the gums pull away from the teeth causing gaps or pockets and later the bone supporting the teeth are destroyed and teeth will become loose and may fall out.

Study have showed that tooth decay affects nearly all adults and 60 – 90 percent of children worldwide, with toothache being the number one reason for absenteeism from schools in many countries. Yet, it is largely preventable. In fact, further studies show that just brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste can reduce tooth decay by up to 50 percent in children, compared with only brushing once a day.

Just two years into the study, children who were participating had already experienced a significant reduction in dental cavities and nearly 20 years later, these same children are continuing to benefit. As adults, they have undergone nearly 20 percent fewer treatments for cavities than their peers.

Committed to driving improved oral care practices for a cavity free smile Nigeria, leading toothpaste brand, Pepsodent a stable from Unilever Nigeria Plc, in partnership with the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA) has revealed plans to help millions of Nigerian families adopt the best oral health practices. This is part of its planned activities for this year’s World Oral Health Day (WOHD) celebration, which is schedule to hold on Monday March 20.

The WOHD is an international day set aside to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth, to promote worldwide oral health awareness and to encourage everyone to look after their oral hygiene in a bid to help reduce the global burden of oral disease. The theme of the year’s celebration is ‘Live Mouth Smart’.

The Nigerian Dental Association has been passionately promoting oral health in Nigeria, by educating and helping people maintain the brush twice-daily beneficial habit. This she has done through outreaches, on-site demonstration of proper tooth brushing, educational fliers, health talk, dental checkup and treatment etc.

Various programmes such as commemoration of WOHD, Live Learn Laugh and recently Brush Twice Daily campaign, have been executed in both rural and urban areas in Nigeria. These have been executed in partnership with Unilever Nigeria Plc, makers of Pepsodent toothpaste towards improving the oral health status of Nigerians.

As one of the world’s leading toothpaste brands, Pepsodent is focusing on building long-term behaviour change of brushing twice daily. Speaking on the continuous partnership between Unilever and the National Dental Association, President of the Association, Dr. Bode Ijarogbe, said: “We are proud of our partnership with Unilever Nigeria Plc, who have made the success of the previous World Oral Health celebrations possible with their immense support towards oral health in Nigeria.”

“It is imperative to prevent oral diseases in Nigeria by ensuring people brush twice a day, every day. In addition to the fact that many people cannot afford dental care, statistics also shows that there are only about 4,125 registered dentists i.e. about 40,000 people to one dentist,” he added.

According to Ijarogbe, oral diseases, despite being the most common worldwide, is easily preventable through brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. He stated that Unilever through its brand, Pepsodent, is set to help Nigerians eradicate oral diseases with lined-up dental activities including, school programmes across, health walk, community outreach, market activations and several other activities that will educate Nigerians on the many benefits and importance of brushing twice daily.

Commenting on the statistics that shows that 59 percent of Nigerians do not brush day and night, Ijarogbe said: “We have through our efforts in the past seen the transformative impact that brushing twice daily has on the oral health of Nigerians.”

“Our goal at Pepsodent is to continue driving improved oral care practices for a cavity free smile Nigeria. We are also aware that healthy dental habits start in childhood, which is why it’s vital that the Pepsodent Brush Day and Night campaign reaches more children than ever before. We have reached over 2.5 million children in about 3,500 schools since the inception of the programme. Our goal is to reach 10 million children by 2020,” he added.

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