UGANDA: CELEBRATING “WORLD ORAL HEALTH DAY” THE AFRICAN WAY

okal
Medics chech the teeth of a client in Gulu as part of the activities to celebrate world oral health day.

“Dental problem is one of the biggest health problems, which, if not properly tackled, causes discomfort to the patient, but dentists are few”.

“Oral health is multi-faceted which includes the ability to speak, smile, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a wide range of emotions through facial expressions— confidence, discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex”.

 

GULU-UGANDA: “We must thank God for giving us time to come here to celebrate with the rest of the world, World Oral Health Day today”, says Mr. Francis Alumait who is the Director and proprietor of Global Dental Clinic located along Andrea Olal Road, in the heart of Gulu town, northern Uganda.

Mr. Alumait was welcoming about one hundred clients/patients who had responded positively to his announcements that had run on a local FM radio Station for over two weeks, calling on locals with any dental problems visit his clinic for free checkup on Monday, March 20, 2017.

This particular day, was World Oral Health Day, which is one of the days gazetted by United Nations to highlight the problems that result from diseases associated with the mouth like dental tooth-ache, locally known as “Okal”, that people face..

All the people, including children as low as ten years sat in a tent in front of his clinic with problems like teeth ache and had wanted free medical services.

However, due to the biting poverty, most locals in Africa —whereby most of them live on less than Dollar a day— can’t afford to pay medical bills

“Dental problem is one of the biggest health problems, which, if not properly tackled, causes discomfort to the patient, but dentists are few”, says Mr. Alumait.

“We are here to share knowledge and learn from one another as part of the activities we initiated to mark this important day. Neither government, nor the district, had been able to put in resources to mark the day, but we have seen it necessary. We cannot wait for them to tell us what to do”, says Mr. Alumait.

How do we define oral health?

Many health experts conclude that there are many factors that affect oral health. General health, physical, mental well-being, as well as aspects specific to the mouth including smiling, tasting, chewing, swallowing and facial expressions all play a role in oral health.

Oral health multifaceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex.

Although oral health has been recognized for millennia as an essential component of overall health and well-being, it is not been clearly pointed whether it means the same thing to other medical professions and other stakeholders.

On September 6, 2016, FDI World Dental Federation released Advocacy and Strategic plan-Vision 2020 report which highlighted three core elements of oral health.

The first element is the disease and condition status which deals with the level of progression of the disease, pain and discomfort.

Secondly, is physiological function which deals with the capacity to perform a set of actions including ability to speak, smile, chew and swallow.

While the third is psychosocial function which refers to the relationship between oral health and mental state including ability to speak, smile and interact in social and work situations without feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed.

Some health education/tips on how to keep our teeth disease-free

  1. Don’t use force while brushing your teeth because it will cause damage to your gum.
  2. Avoid eating sweet things like biscuits and fast food because the bacteria with causes tooth decay, which lives in our mouth, like to eat the sweet things you eat.
  3. Brush your teeth after every meal, at least two times a day.
  4. Remember that your teeth cannot be replaced once damaged.
  5. Don’t use the same brush for more than three months.
  6. Visit a dentist every six months.
  7. Always use toothpaste with fluoride.
  8. If you are using stick, chew it properly but remember to use it only once.
  9. If you don’t have tooth-paste you can use charcoal or water with sand.
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