Oral health education

2017-11-02 06:00
PHOTO: suppliedDr Jimmy Mthethwa, Nomo Khumalo and Sindi Mthethwa (KZN DOH) hand over toothbrushes and toothpaste to Intaphuka Primary pupils.

PHOTO: suppliedDr Jimmy Mthethwa, Nomo Khumalo and Sindi Mthethwa (KZN DOH) hand over toothbrushes and toothpaste to Intaphuka Primary pupils.

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THE KZN Department of Health has reaffirmed its commitment to raising awareness about oral health as one of the three common barriers to learning, alongside eye-related and hearing difficulties.

The department, through integrated school health programme, visited Intaphuka Primary near Verulam on October 17. Pupils were screened for oral, eye and hearing-related ailments.

The department remains concerned by reports that indicate that oral disease levels appear to be increasing in major sectors of the South African population, especially the underserved, disadvantaged and urbanizing communities.

According to the statistics over 90% of the world’s population will suffer some form of dental disease in their lifetime but many of these can easily be treated or prevented with a good oral care routine.

It has been found that a high number of children in the country present with dental problems when they start their formal schooling. Inevitably, such challenges end up having a negative impact on their schooling.

Chief director in the department of Health Jimmy Mthethwa said: “Good oral health habits are best instituted at an early age, hence the decision to introduce preventive programmes in Early Childhood Development Centres in the form of oral health education and teeth brushing.”

Mthethwa said the efforts of the department are geared towards integrating other interventions directed at primary school children.

“Our aim is to ensure the prevention of poor nutrition, poor hand hygiene [hand washing], which lead to many childhood illnesses like diarrhoea, severe malnutrition and eye sight problems. It is very crucial that we attend to the children at this level of their development as a means to minimise their pain and discomfort; long term expenditure on treatment; unnecessary loss of school days; later in life productivity and some degree of social stigma.” - Supplied.

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