An oral health expert and Director of Intercountey Center for Oral Health (ICOH) for Africa, Dr Balarabe Sani has called on the Federal Government to implement the National Health Policy on Oral Health to improve awareness in that sector.
The Director, who spoke excessively to our correspondent said the seeming prevalence of caries (teeth decay) among Nigerians can be prevented if such policy is put into action and enlightenment is created about the dangers of lack of adequate oral care.
“The mouth is part and parcel of the body. What affects the mouth can spread to the rest of the body. For example, advanced oral cancer can metastasize to the entire body, causing untold damages to critical segments of the body system. Halitosis and anterior crowding can reduce self esteem. Dental pain can bring loss of working hours,” he emphasised.
According to him, there is also the need for the incorporation of oral health education into general health education, engagement in the recruitment of dental manpower by government and other stakeholders to shore up available manpower that would adequately take care of Nigerians.
The Dental teacher and academic also urged handlers of healthcare facilities to organize oral health campaign outreaches in communities and schools to enlighten the public about oral health education, promotion, free treatments and training of Primary Healthcare workers on the issue.
“ICOH has carried out a lot of oral health education and promotion in schools and PHCs across Nigeria, but there is still a lot that needs to be done to stem the tide of the ailment.”
While applauding the Federal Government for the support being enjoyed by ICOH through the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Sani appealed for more support to enable the organization fulfill its mandate as a research institution in the area of oral health.