Dental health in decay

School students at the World Oral Health Day celebrations at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

School students at the World Oral Health Day celebrations at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

TOOTH decays, gum diseases and rise in oral cancer are the common dental problems faced in the country, says a dental practitioner.

Colgate Palmolive (Fiji) Ltd professional relations and community programs co-ordinator Dr Naina Kau said parents played an important role when it came to their children’s oral health care.

“Everything is done for a baby and child. Babies are fed, bathed, dressed by an adult. Likewise oral care like the cleaning of the baby’s mouth and tooth brushing should first be done by parents until a child is able to do it on their own under supervision,” Dr Kau said.

“High caries prevalence for six-year olds in the 2004 national oral health survey shows that oral care for these children was not a priority at home.”

She said some of the ways people could practise good oral health care included brushing teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush and pea-sized fluoride toothpaste.

“Decreasing sugar intake and maintaining a well-balanced nutritional intake to prevent tooth decay and premature tooth loss,” she said.

“Stopping tobacco use and decreasing alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of oral cancers, periodontal disease and tooth loss, and visiting the dentist at least once a year for check-up.”

Her main message for this year’s World Oral Health Day is that oral health is an integral part of general health.

“A healthy mouth and a healthy body go hand in hand. Maintaining a healthy mouth is crucial to keeping it functioning correctly and for maintaining overall health and quality of life,” she said.

The World Oral Health Day was celebrated yesterday.

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