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Dentists in Ghana are adopting new approaches to handling oral health after a global research engineered by Pepsodent showed that children with poor oral health are less likely to perform and participate in class.
The research findings indicated that children with poor oral health do not just suffer bad breath, cavities and pain but also hidden damage as it is linked to lower self-esteem, affecting a child’s overall potential during education and beyond.
Dr Edward Ohene Marfo, a Dentist at SDA Hospital in Gbawe, at the General Annual Conference of the Ghana Dental Association (GDA), called for the involvement of all stakeholders including parents, teachers, dentists and the media to continuously educate the larger population to practice good oral health, especially among children to help them to realise their full potentials.
He said Dentists over the years had focused on the pain of the child and the bad breathe caused by the cavities created, leaving the focus on the child’s education.
Dr Marfo said another shocking revelation of the research was that tooth decay and related oral diseases in children were not only health issue manifesting as bad breathe, discoloured teeth and pain as it affected their relations with other colleagues.
He said the research showed that children with poor oral health were less likely to participate and perform in class, less likely to smile, less likely to enjoy being at school and they find it difficult to socialise with other pupils, and finding it harder to make friends.
Dr Marfo said the research results revealed things that Dentists had not focused on and that it had served as an eye opener and encouraged members of the GDA to rethink the approach to helping young people to have healthy oral health.
He said the Dentist would now focus on the recent findings and add to the previous knowledge to help reduce occurrence of cavities, nothing that the solution to solving the problem was very cheap and very easy but most parents found it very difficult to adhere.
He said: “The most simple and effective way to prevent dental caries is to brush - brush with Pepsodent in the morning and in the evening, the last thing before going to bed. It is advisable to use Pepsodent toothbrush because it is soft or use any medium-bristled toothbrush, which is good for your teeth.”
Dr Marfo said when individuals do this very well and visit their Dentists at least twice in a year, many people would be free from getting cavities because “whatever food particles that will remain in your mouth for bacterial to work is being cleaned”.
Dr Ama Amuasi, a member of GDA and Dentist at the Komfe Anokye Teaching Hospital, in an interview called on corporate institutions to help build dentistry clinics in every district to provide access to people to visit dentists.
She said brushing one's teeth was the easiest way of preventing dental caries because the four factors that cause tooth decay were the tooth, the oral bacterial, the food particles, and time.
She said the only factor that could be taken out was the food particles hidden in the teeth because none of the other factors could be controlled by humans and encouraged people to brush twice daily – in the morning and in the night just before going to bed.
Dr Amuasi said “When you don’t brush your teeth and you go to bed, it means that you’ve created a banquet for the bacteria in your mouth because they would have little bread, banku, chocolate to feed on whilst you are asleep”.
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