In a commendable effort to prioritize oral health within communities, the Edo State Specialist Hospital embarked on proactive steps with a comprehensive outreach program to commemorate World Oral Health Day 2024.

Under the theme “A Happy Mouth is A Happy Body”, the outreach initiative conducted by the Edo State Specialist Hospital on March 20 at the state’s capital, Benin City, brought together dental professionals and volunteers and was aimed at promoting oral hygiene and providing essential dental care services to residents.

According to the Dental Coordinator and Consultant Orthodontist, Edo Specialist Hospital, Dr. Aghimien Osaronse, the event is geared towards an oral health campaign, aimed at sensitizing the residents of the state on the importance of proper dental practices.

“Part of what we are doing is to tell people how to brush your mouth, how often you should visit the dentist. The teaching is that you should visit your dentist at least twice a year; every six months,” Dr. Aghimien remarked.

Further speaking on the importance of regular dental check-ups, Dr. Aghimien emphasized the danger of delaying or skipping them.

“When you visit your dentist early enough, during the interactions or routine examinations, we would be able to detect the thing that is there. Any subtle issue that the individual is having, we would be able to pick them out and we will advise the patient on what to do”

“But if you wait, as they say, delay is dangerous. Dentistry is cheap, but if you neglect it, it becomes very expensive to manage,” Dr. Aghimien added

The outreach program included an informative session by dental experts, educating the residents of the state on proper brushing and flossing techniques, and the importance of regular dental visits, with practical demonstration on care of the mouth and right brushing techniques.

While educating the attendees, a dental therapist, Miss Abdul with the Edo Specialist Hospital explained that the essence of brushing the teeth is to remove food particles and not change the color of the teeth; hence caution has to be taken when brushing to avoid bruising the gums.

Speaking further, she emphasized the need for adults to use medium textured brushes while soft textured brushes are to be used by children and to also ensure that they use fluoride toothpaste as it helps strengthen the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay.

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Miss Abdul advised pregnant women present to avoid the use of Tetracycline tablets; an antibiotic, during the pregnancy stage, as she explain causes teeth discoloration in children.

“If you are a pregnant woman, we don’t advise you to take Tetracycline, because we have discovered that it affects the child when they start to grow teeth. Their teeth will be yellow and most times it is permanent,” Miss Abdul stated.

She further advised that individuals visit the dentist at least twice yearly while also advising mothers present to discourage thumb sucking and bringing out of tongues in their toddlers, especially for a continued period, noting that it usually results in ‘open bite’, a situation where the upper and lower teeth don’t lap each other or align properly, leaving a permanent space in between.

The residents also had the opportunity to receive free dental check-ups, allowing them to assess their oral health status and receive expert advice on preventive care and treatment options.

To encourage ongoing oral hygiene practices, oral care kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss were distributed to attendees after their check-up session.

Residents present at the outreach were filled with smiles and gratitude as they thanked the Edo Specialist Hospital for the welcome initiative.

Mr. Emeka Emmanuel, a resident of the state while lauding the initiative, stated some of the things he realized he could benefit from.

“I cannot remember when last I went for a checkup, so I am glad I came here. After the checkup, I was told that for attending this outreach, I would get a discount on the cost of treating my dental issue. I was even told that since I am registered under the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme, the fee will be very negligible or almost nothing. So I thank the organizers for this event,” Mr. Emeka remarked.