We cannot remain unconcerned about our oral health, Lawrence at oral health launch in Madhia
(GEORGETOWN– Ministry of Public Health) – Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence on Wednesday said maintaining proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups and diet are essential to maintaining a healthy body.
Addressing the residents and pupils of various schools at the Oral Health launch at the Madhia Primary School, Region 8 (Potaro-Siparuni) on Wednesday, Lawrence agreed that a regular oral checkup keeps germs and disease at bay.
“We cannot remain unconcerned about our oral health. We must learn to take care of our oral cavity, we pop a multiplicity of strange things in our mouth and who knows; we may be harboring an oral disease that could be fatal”. Lawrence said.
The launch which was organised by the Cheddi Jagan Dental Centre of the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) kicked off with a health walk which attracted some 100 students from Madhia Primary and Madhia Secondary, El Paso Primary, Micobee Primary, Princeville Primary and Campbeltown Primary. The walk immediately followed the ceremony which was held to commemorate oral health month 2017 which will be observed under the theme: “Improving and promoting oral health in rural communities”.
In her feature address, Lawrence indicated that this year’s theme is apt and significant noting that it is important to improve and promote oral health in rural communities throughout Guyana.
“It is the Ministry’s responsibility to ensure that all rural communities enjoy the same standards and the same quality of life that pertains in the coastal communities”, she said.
The Minister highlighted that Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have been plaguing the country’s economy over the years and it has been the leading cause of deaths among the country’s adult population. She further emphasised that although NCDSs and its risk factors are linked to behaviour lifestyles, prevention of diseases such as cancers, diabetes respiratory illnesses and cardio-vascular can be done through proper diet, exercise and regular checkups.
“All of us have a sweet tooth, we cannot resist the sugary things; in a nutshell there is a high consumption of sugar and sugared products; couple this with irregular or no visits to the dentist – dental caries, decay, gingivitis (gum disease); lack of physical exercise – obesity and a predisposition to the onset of diabetes” she said.
The Minister urged those present to stay informed by educating themselves on new and current information on oral hygiene and other health related matters. She also encouraged that they share the information or knowledge gained using social media forums.
“I want to say to you that in the same way you are anxious to see who has sent you a message on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger, I want you to be just as or even more focused on your oral hygiene… I therefore want to plead with you to listen attentively to the information you will receive from our Resource Persons and then text your friends who aren’t there with some aspect of oral health and oral hygiene”, she said.
Minster Lawrence thanked and commended the Ministry of Education and Colgate Palmolive, for supporting dental health services and by extension the Ministry of Public Health over the last fifteen years.
“Our partners have recognised that we have to make greater efforts to improve people’s general health and oral health and quality of life, by educating all residents in all our communities about oral health matters in anticipation that this will change unhealthy and negative behaviors and practices”.
In concluding her remarks, Lawrence said, “Let good oral hygiene be your watchword- visit the dentist regularly and update your oral health status, and be conscious of your sugar intake – take stock of what you eat, keep caries away, exercise regularly and keep obesity and diabetes at bay”.
Meanwhile, Paul Clark, Manager of the Cheddi Jagan Dental Centre said that while oral health month is dedicated to promoting the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers and teachers, it also brings together hundreds of dedicated dental professionals, health providers from all across Guyana who have worked tiredness to promote best practices and oral health education awareness.
Clark said prevent is better than cure, hence a good dental regime to prevent oral diseases should be a lifelong practice.
“We have recognised that a good oral health can have life changing benefits and that a healthy smile transforms visual appearance. We know that good oral health not only improve the positivity of your mind set and your mouth, but your body”, he said.
Clark told those present that the MoPH this year sought to reach out to the residents of Madhia and other rural communities because they have recognized the importance of establishing positive oral health habits especially from the young age.
“Over the next three days, we will be in your villages, Micobee, Pinceville and Madhia, providing free dental screening, examinations, fillings, cleaning and education to those in need, Clark said.
Clark highlighted that the MoPH is committed to further educating not only patients but staffs on new information governing oral health conditions, dental procedures and proper oral hygiene techniques.
While expressing his gratitude to corporate sponsors, Clark indicated that by the end of 2018, the MoPH will be able to make available, printable materials on a variety of topics such as oral health instrumental videos and materials which will be developed specifically for children through collaborations with Colgate-Palmolive.
Regional Chairman Bonaventure Fredericks praised the MoPH and its dental staff for the care and service they have been providing to the residents, especially the children of Madhia. He noted that while government has contributed to the general welfare of its citizens, the community of Madhia has worked to create harmony among its people.
“The Ministry of Public Health and the other ministries are working for our good as citizens. Madhia is practicing a life of cohesion a life we are longing to have at every part of our country” Fredericks said.
During his brief remarks, Safraz Ghani, Customer Development Manager, Colgate-Pamolive reminded parents that they are their children’s learning models therefore demonstrating proper oral health is essential to the child’s upbringing.
“Most of the habit that we carry forward into adulthood are the ones we immediate from our parents, elders or guardians; brushing is one of those habits you will want your children to inculcate”, he said.
He warned against the use of toothpaste that are branded in foreign languages. This he said is a dangerous practice nothing that one must be able to identify the expiration date of any product when making a purchase.
Oral Health month which was first launched in 2003 is an annual observance which focuses on providing oral health education and specialised care throughout the coastlands and hinterland regions of Guyana.