Dental hygiene vital for children

20 Mar 2017 09:20am
KEETMANSHOOP, 20 MAR (NAMPA) – Children should be taught to brush their teeth at an early age, and should be kept off sugary foods and drinks.
This will aid in their cultivation of a set of good, strong and healthy teeth, Dentist Henk van der Velde from German non-profit organisation Dentists without Limits Foundation (DWLF) said on Friday.
He said children should start brushing teeth as soon as they can hold a toothbrush.
“Starting early will help them establish the habit of brushing regularly and maintaining proper dental hygiene throughout life,” said Van der Velde.
He cautioned parents to be attentive to the amounts of sugar in products such as juice and ice teas given to children and rather to encourage drinking clean water.
Van der Velde is part of a team of dental volunteers visiting from Germany on a two-week camp alongside public health dentists in southern Namibia.
The visitors: three doctors, one dental assistant and one dental technician from private practices in that European country, have volunteered their services to the joint project between DWLF and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS)
The project comprises alternating outreach programmes every two months in the //Kharas and Otjozondjupa regions.
The visitors pay their own way to Namibia, while DWLF provide the medical tools and products for amongst others, composite fillings, tooth extractions and denture fittings.
The MoHSS arrange logistics and additional equipment alongside staff, including dentists and health extension workers.
Last week, the teams worked in Keetmanshoop, and this week they are based in Karasburg.
The outreach programmes are very successful and garner hundreds of health seekers, Keetmanshoop State Hospital Dentist Arthur Chigova told Nampa.
“It is because we bring the service to the people,” he said.
Chigova was particularly pleased with the patronage of an old woman and her 12 grandchildren to the camp set up in a Roman Catholic Church hall in Tseiblaagte.
A number of patients lined up outside testified to the benefits and encouragement of a mobile health service in their neighbourhood.
Chigova urged people to timeously seek help for tooth problems.
“Despite the importance of teeth, people tend to seek help only when they get really sick. They try to manage the pain themselves over a prolonged period,” he noted.
Van der Velde said people in Germany generally visit the dentist every six months.
“At my practice, we are in the habit of calling and reminding them of their six-month check-up.”
Chigova and Van der Velde advised the public to brush their teeth at least twice a day.