Zimbabwe on Wednesday joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Oral Health Day.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The celebrations ran under the theme Say Ahhh. Think mouth. Think health.
Officiating the celebrations, Health and Childcare minister Dr David Parirenyatwa revealed that about 30 percent of Zimbabwean children have been found with tooth decay alongside a 60 percent having a tooth or more pulled.
“In Zimbabwe in 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,” he said.
He stressed on the importance of getting at least two dental checks in a year.
“Please have your teeth checked at least twice a year,” said the inister.
The Minister said the country currently has 220 dentists in both public and private health institutions.
“There are 220 dentists dentists in the country with most of them coming from the private health institutions while Government’s institutions have less than 100. We expect to have more in our central, district hospitals so that the elderly and marginalised can get dental care easily,” Dr Parirenyatwa.
Speaking at the same event, Harare City Acting Director Dr Clemence Duri said they have seen a rise of patients seeking dental treatment.
“In 2017 we had 9000 people who came to our clinics for dental treatment showing a 55 percent increase and 50 percent for tooth extraction compared to 2016,” he said. “This was attributed to enhanced outreach programs.”
90 percent of the of the world’s population will suffer from toothache at least once in their lifetime according to WHO statistics this forms part of the growing Non Communicable Diseases burden.
Especially school going children are affected
2.4 Billion people worldwide have untreated tooth decay
At least 10 percent of the world’s population is completely edentulous ie 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
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.