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Health & Wellness

How to keep your mouth and gum healthy

The mouth is the most important part of the body that should be kept clean. It is not all about white teeth or having the brightest smile but one has to take extra care to make sure the mouth is kept clean.

“I brush once a day because I always get lazy to brush in the night, but sometimes I woke up in the morning when my teeth are paining,” says Ritah Musiime a resident in Banda.

 

Musiime says, “[ever] since last week I had a tooth ache but I do nt know what to do.”

 

According to the first National Oral Health Policy produced by the Ministry of Health in 2007, “Currently there is inadequate data on the oral health situation in Uganda.”

 

A National oral survey in 1987, however, had found; thirty five percent (35%) of 6 year olds with D3-4MFT, 23% 12 year olds with D3-4MFT and 52% of 35-44 year olds with D3-4MFT.

 

This survey equally established that the main reason for tooth loss among the surveyed communities was tooth decay. It was also found that preventive oral health programmes were of a limited nature with Public Health Dental Officers offering mainly curative services even though the rationale behind training this group of auxiliaries was to address the need for community based oral health services.

 

More recent information (2004/2005) from a rapid assessment conducted through a community survey and key informant interviews in 10 districts highlighted that, at least 51% of the community had experienced an oral health problem in the six months prior to the survey. Of the persons who had experienced an oral health problem only 35% were receiving treatment.

 

The most prevalent conditions as reported by the key informants (dental practitioners) were; tooth decay (93.1%), pain (82.1%), tooth loss (79.3%), early childhood caries (75.9%), bleeding gums (71.4%), loose teeth (48.3%), bad breath (42.9%), oral HIV lesions (28.6%), harmful practices such as tooth bud extraction (17.2%), oro-facial trauma without fractures (13.8%), jaw fractures (13.8%), oral cancer (10.3%), mouth sores (10.3%), fluorosis (6.9%) and benign oral tumours (3.4%).

How to brush;
Anyone can brush their teeth but may not know the right and correct way of how to do so.

 

First of all, it is important that one brushes their teeth using a tooth brush and tooth paste.

 

Do not rush when brushing teeth. Hilary Abonge, a dentist at Astro dental services in Mulago, says, one should take time and brush all the parts of the mouth carefully.

 

Brush thoroughly; Abonge says when brushing the teeth one should make sure to reach both the inner and outside areas. People should brush the upper and lower teeth.

 

People should brush gently. Brushing with so much force can cause a strain to the teeth and the mouth.

Brush the tongue thoroughly, some people ignore the tongue but it is one of the parts in the mouth that harbors bacteria and it should be cleaned well and regularly.

 

What to do; According to Abonge, it is very important to visit a dentist regularly. One does not have to first wait to get a tooth decay to see a dentist.

 

Avoid over using tooth picks. They damage the gum and can cause bleeding.

Regular consumption of sugary and sticky foods can make the teeth go bad.

The most prominent determinants for oral disease as pointed out in the National Oral Health Policy in 2007 were; sugar consumption, failure to use fluoride toothpaste, lack of access to fluorinated water, tobacco use, lack of community oral health education, use of traditional practitioners, low level of community awareness and failure to have oral health check ups.

 

Always change a tooth brush every after 2 months. Abonge says, people should use tooth brushes with soft bristles and avoid brushing roughly because it causes trauma to the gum.
People should avoid using teeth for vigorous activities like opening bottles. It can make the teeth weak.

 

Use mouth wash where necessary

 

Always remember to use a mouth guard when going for sport games like Rugby, Boxing to avoid the mouth from getting damaged.

 

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