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‘Poor oral health could lead to variety of health problems’

BY: Philip Boateng Kessie
Some children in the Joma community going through the screening exercise
Some children in the Joma community going through the screening exercise

A dental hygienist from the United States of America (USA), Mrs Felicia Williams, has advised Ghanaians to take oral healthcare very seriously.

According to her, studies had proven that poor oral health could lead to variety of health problems such as cardio-vascular diseases, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.

Mrs Williams gave the advise when she spoke to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a dental screening exercise organised by the Global Foundation for Dental Healthcare and Awareness International (GFDHA), a non-governmental organisation, on Saturday, July 7, for residents of Joma, a community in the Greater Accra Region.

She said it was disturbing to note that despite the fact that oral health was a significant part as far as the overall wellbeing of the body was concerned, majority of Ghanaians did not accord it the necessary attention it deserved.

Screening

The exercise saw over 300 individuals, mostly children and women, receive free dental services such as dental cleaning, extraction, fillings and dental floss.

They were also educated on the need to seek regular dental services from a dentist as well as adopt best oral hygiene practices.

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Purpose

Mrs Williams, who is the Chief Executive Officer of GFDHA, said her outfit was committed to improving good oral healthcare by eliminating dental diseases, particularly in underprivileged children around the world.
Common misconceptions

She said upon her frequent visits to Ghana, a common misconception that she had noticed among the people was that oral hygiene simply meant that brushing the teeth twice a day.

According to her, her interactions with some Ghanaians also revealed that people often brushed their teeth with the notion to reduce the bad odour from their breath.

"People tend to brush their teeth because they want to remove the bad odour from their mouth but simply brushing your teeth does not mean the bad odour is cured" she said.

Going forward

Going forward, she encouraged the public to adopt the practice of flossing as a means of ensuring oral hygiene.

Dental flossing is an oral hygiene practice where a soft thread of floss silk or similar material is used to clean between the teeth.

This method, she testified, adequately removed all the hidden food particles between your teeth thereby preventing any disease.

She added that education on oral hygiene in schools was low, and therefore encouraged teachers to teach students the negative effects of neglecting oral health.