Dental Health Unit On Nevis In Full Swing
October 22, 2009
The importance of good dental hygiene has been the mantra of health officials on Nevis this week and Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Hensley Daniel urged the public to pay attention to diet and to practice good oral hygiene in order to safeguard against expensive dental procedures.
The Health Minister made the call when he delivered a televised address on Tuesday to mark a week of activities by the Dental Health Unit on Nevis which concludes on October 23.
“Diet is key to the maintenance if good dental health…cakes, sweets and sweet drinks are common to social occasions but they are invitations to dental disease.
“Poor food selection and poor eating habits can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. The more we eat foods with sugar the more often acid has a chance to attack the teeth,” he said.
Mr. Daniel said while tooth decay was a common childhood disease, parents could protect their children from tooth decay if they taught their children about oral hygiene and focussed on brushing and flossing.
He urged members of the public to resolve to prevent dental problems, understand conditions and to explore treatments.
The Minister explained that the Ministry of Health through the Dental Health Unit had been working to sustain good dental hygiene.
He said surveys among school children had showed that the consumption of large amounts of sweet foods could lead to early tooth decay.
“The result of an Oral Health Survey of Grade I students for four primary schools in 2008 confirm this assumption. Seventy percent of the students had cavities, 27.5 percent had previous cavities filled and 15 percent had premature extractions.
“The Ministry operates two Units out of Gingerland and Charlestown. In 2008 there were 723 extractions, 1770 fillings and 1098 prophylaxes.
“These are just at the public centres so there must be additional cases from the private dental care units. These statistics indicate the need to ratchet up the efforts to reduce tooth decay. As can be expected the Ministry of Health anchors its efforts on prevention,” he said.