• 8:17 am March 23, 2017

World Oral Day – Nigeria In Perspective

Kelikume Oliseh

March 20 is the World Oral Health Day, an international day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health and the importance of looking after oral hygiene to everyone old and young. The theme for this year’s oral day is “Live Smart Mouth”.

In the World Health Organization (WHO) “World Oral Health Report 2003”, WHO emphasized that despite great improvements in the oral health status of populations across the world, problems persist. The major challenges of the future will be to translate existing knowledge and sound experiences of disease prevention and health promotion into action programmes, siting this is particularly the case with developing countries that have not yet benefited from advances in oral health science to the fullest extent possible.

Oral health is essential to general health and quality of life. It is a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial wellbeing.

Oral Diseases and Conditions:

The most common oral diseases are dental cavities, periodontal (gum) disease, oral cancer, oral infectious diseases, trauma from injuries, and genetic lesions. Dental cavities and periodontal disease are major causes of tooth loss. Complete loss of natural teeth is widespread  and particularly affects older people. Globally, about 30% of people aged 65–74 have no natural teeth. Across the world, 16-40% of children in the age range 6 to12 years old are affected by dental trauma due to unsafe playgrounds, unsafe schools, road accidents, or violence.


Let’s take a look at the oral health profile in Nigeria about Dental Caries-

Per Cent Affected; DMFT; Different Age Groups

DMFT and DMFS describe the amount – the prevalence – of dental caries in an individual. DMFT and DMFS are means to numerically express the caries prevalence and are obtained by calculating the number of Decayed (D); Missing (M); Filled (F); Teeth (T) or surfaces (S).



*A total of 87, 63, 80 and 128, 12, 13, 14 and 15 year olds respectively were studied from 8 schools in the Egor District, Edo state.
** A total of 1,600 schoolchildren were studied from 10 public and 10 private schools in Lagos State.

 Caries trends; DMFT; Different Age groups


* Egor District
** Lagos state
*** 50-60 years, Benin City
**** 61-70 years, Benin City

We can see there is a significant decrease in DMFT in 2005 compared to 1990 – 91. There’s still a need for proper oral hygiene as the mean for DMFT increases with age.

On this day March 20, the oral health community presented five oral health policy calls to action;

The oral health community wants policymakers to:

1. Integrate oral diseases into policies addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and general health more broadly to secure health and well-being throughout life

Key message: You can’t be healthy without good oral health. Oral health is one of the main pillars of overall health and well-being and, given the shared risk factors with other NCDs, should be integrated into policies addressing them.

2. Implement cost-effective, evidence-based population-wide oral health promotion measures

Key message: population-based public health interventions such as measures to address affordable access to fluoride
and reduce sugar consumption can positively influence oral health outcomes and decrease costs to the individual and
to the economy.

3. Recognize that oral health is a basic human right and essential to maintaining a good quality of life by providing universal health coverage and implementing policies that address social determinants

Key message: broader integrative policies that take account of common risk factors and the root determinants of
health through an ‘oral health in all policies’ approach, will result in equitable approaches to promoting better oral health and general health.

4. Prioritize surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of oral diseases and recognize that this is an integral part of routine epidemiological data collection

Key message: oral health data must be integrated into national disease surveillance. Monitoring risk factors and oral health needs is fundamental to developing appropriate interventions and programmes as well as to evaluating their effectiveness for long-term positive health outcomes.

5. Leverage World Oral Health Day on March 20 to promote oral health and support the work of national dental associations

Key message: World Oral Health Day is an internationally-recognized campaign that provides the ideal platform for governments to work with national dental associations to understand their country’s oral health challenges and launch policies that address oral diseases at a local, national and regional level.

Source: https://www.worldoralhealthday.com/about
Data Source: http://www.mah.se/CAPP/Country-Oral-Health-Profiles/AFRO/Nigeria/Oral-Diseases/Dental-Caries/