13 Sep 2013 08:10
OMARURU, 13 SEP (NAMPA) The Minister of Health and Social Services has urged all Namibian adults to assume the responsibility of becoming oral health advocates in order to minimise cases of tooth decay among children and the whole citizenry.
Speaking at an event held to mark the National Oral Health Week at Omaruru on Friday, Dr Richard Kamwi said the 2010 national oral health baseline survey produced shocking findings.
The survey, which was conducted countrywide, revealed that 67 per cent of adult Namibians had tooth decay.
Our major concern is the fact that about 70 per cent of all tooth decay in the country goes untreated, he added.
According to Kamwi, the survey report on national oral health also showed that 40 per cent of gum diseases are prevalent among children below six years of age, and increased steeply through the ages, reaching 97 per cent among the elderly.
The report also found that many Namibians had lost their teeth due to tooth decay and gum diseases.
The majority of those people are in need of artificial teeth replacements, and their strength to chew meat has been limited, Kamwi stated.
Oral health in the country has been neglected in past years due to competing priorities in the public health service delivery sector.
His ministry is also faced with a challenge of inadequate oral health workers.
In response to this shortage of oral health workers, the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) this year sent 50 students to Cuba for studies in dentistry-related fields.
Kamwi warned that oral hygiene should include the brushing of teeth at least twice a day; the avoidance of smoking, and a reduction in the intake of food containing high levels of sugar.
Those without tooth brushes must chew certain fresh sticks which are medically-proven to brush the teeth, or they must visit their dentists at least twice a year, he advised.
The National Oral Health Week was observed from 08 to 13 September in the Erongo Region.
During the National Oral Health Week, dentists and their assistants from different State hospitals in the country were travelling the entire Erongo Region, providing people with information and advice on dental hygiene.
They also distributed toothpaste tubes and tooth-brushes to school children and other people of the Erongo Region throughout the week.
The toothpaste and brushes were donated by the Colgate company.
This years National Oral Health Week was held under the theme Healthy Teeth for Healthy Life.
The event was attended by school-children and Omaruru Constituency councillor Michael Tjirare, amongst others.