By Joyce Mukucha and Patricia Mashiri
As Zimbabwe celebrates the World Oral Day, Dr David Parirenyatwa, the minister of Health and Child Care urged people to desist from consuming food which contains much sugar to maintain their well-being in as much as healthy living is concerned.
In his remarks during the commemorations which ran under the theme ‘SAY Ahh. Think Mouth Think Health’ on the 20th of March in Harare, Dr Parirenyatwa said it was imperative to prevent oral diseases by taking regular education on the correct way to constantly take good care of teeth and all the oral soft tissues of the mouth.
He indicated that consumption of sugary foods can also cause other mainly non communicable diseases in the mouth to a stage which lead to loss of life.
“Failure to get the mouth checked regularly, excess alcohol consuming and smoking could lead to you developing cancer of the tongue.
“World Health Day makes us recognize problems people face because 2.4 Billion people worldwide have untreated tooth decay. At least 10 percent of the world’s population is completely edentulous for example having absolutely no teeth although losing teeth is not a natural consequence of ageing – one can have all 32 of their teeth till they die,” Parirenyatwa said.
The Minister said over 25% of the world’s population has mild to moderate gum disease resulting in gum bleeding and bad breath 15% of the world’s population has severe gum disease resulting in tooth loss.
In Zimbabwe, he said, at each school’s screening a significant proportion have tooth decay (more than 30%) and at every community outreach more than 60% of the patients who turn up need a tooth to be extracted from them.
Addressing people at the same event, Dr Taz Rusike, the president of Zimbabwe Diabetic Association (ZIDA) emphasized that there was need to assess oral health treatment in the country in order to fight oral and general diseases that affect the population.
“There is need for the government to improve and add more dental care facilities to ensure that people receive good treatment, prevention methods and oral health lessons,” Rusike said.
Teachers have been advised to keep on educating children about oral health and general health, which includes exercises.
The World Oral Day was declared by World Dental Health Federation to be celebrated on the 20th of March every year worldwide with the mandate of promoting quality health as well as raising awareness concerning oral wellbeing.