This year’s World Oral Health Day has been commemorated in Accra with the launch of a campaign to educate children on the proper way to brush their teeth. The “Little Brush Big Brush” campaign is a behavioural change programme that seeks to help children build better tooth brushing habits through fun.
The campaign, which will be aired on various media platforms, including social media, combines storytelling and animated creatures to teach children the proper way to brush their teeth and the need to develop good brushing habits.
Launched by Unilever Ghana, the drive is also aimed at reaching many families in the country, especially those in the hinterlands.
Oral Health Day
The day was observed by Unilever Ghana and its global counterparts, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ghana Dental Association (GDA) and the Ministry of Health (MoH).
The theme for the commemoration was: “Live mouth smart” and it was attended by hundreds of pupils from some basic schools in Accra.
As part of the celebration, some dental care specialists demonstrated to the children the proper way to brush their teeth.
The children were encouraged to brush their teeth twice daily to prevent decay and other problems associated with the teeth.
A Chief Dental Officer of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Maxwell Adjei, said the theme for this year’s celebration was to remind children about the importance of taking good care of their teeth and gums.
“The theme has a double meaning — maintaining our oral health smartly and safeguarding our oral health way into our old age,” he said.
Dr Adjei said dental conditions and diseases ranged from mild, reversible, costly to irreversible problems for a patient, saying that there were numerous diseases that affected each part of the mouth, including the teeth, gums, tongue and bones.
In a welcome address, the Managing Director of Unilever Ghana, Mr Yeo Ziobeieton, said many children and adults in Ghana faced challenges with their teeth.
According to statistics, about 96 per cent of adults aged between 35 and 44 are affected by periodontal diseases, while 40 per cent of children of 12 years suffer from decayed, missing and stained teeth and bad breath.
That, Mr Ziobeieton said, was damning and worrying and needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
“Among children, toothache causes absenteeism in school and impacts academic progress, learning, social interaction and growth,” he said.
Oral care crisis
He said Africa was seen by many as experiencing an oral care crisis owing to a lack of fluoride in most toothpaste and attributed that to the absence of dental care and education on the part of its citizens.
Mr Ziobeieton said the major solution to the problem was behavioural change, saying: “Unilever believes that behavioural change is the key to more frequent brushing and better oral health. That is why, in Africa, Pepsodent aims to reach over 25 million children face to face with oral health improvement programmes by 2020.”