Wednesday, 22 July 2015 11:43

NIGERIA: Unilever Oral Health Programme Targets 10 Million School Children

21 July 2015 - Worried about the prevalence cavities of among Nigerian children, dental health experts have kicked off a behavioural change programme for students to achieve better oral health.

The newly launched campaign, from the stable of Unilever Nigeria, makers of Pepsodent Toothpaste, is also aimed at reducing the impact of dental cavities.

Data reveals that almost 100 per cent of adults globally suffer from dental cavities and 60 to 90 per cent of school children have cavities even as toothache is the number one reason for absenteeism in school globally.

Speaking at the Oral Health Schools' Programme in Lagos, Brand Building Director, Unilever Nigeria, Mr. David Okeme said that the 21 days behavioural change campaign was to prevent the causes of ill oral health that affect children's ability to learn.

Okeme explained that it was part of Unilever's global oral care social missions agenda to improve the oral health of 100 million people by 2020 by convincing them to brush day and night to stay healthy, happy and live a more enjoyable and fulfilled life.

"In partnership with the Nigerian Dental Association, Universal Basic Education Board and the Federal Ministry of Health, Pepsodent is committed to improving the oral health of 10 million children in Nigeria by 2020 through the Brush Day & Night schools' programme, and one million school children will be reached directly in 2015.

"We believe children can change the world by adopting healthy oral habits and they can convince their parents to do same," he said.

President Nigerian Dental Association, NDA, Dr. Bode Ijarogbe said children are more vulnerable to dental cavities because they consume more of sweetened food.

"Normally, everyone has bacterial in the mouth and other parts of the body. But as regards formation of cavity, the bacterial in the mouth only becomes very dangerous in the presence of fermentable sugar-based diet. The sugar acts as diet for the bacteria and produces a by-product of dilute acid which eventually results in cavity formation, resulting in holes which gradually becomes larger and eventually into tooth ache.

"And if this is not quickly addressed, it results to severe pain which could lead to loss of manpower at work for adults and school absenteeism for the child. The kids are the major target in this programme because they have more cravings for sweet foods. And when these children adopt the habit of a healthy oral lifestyle, they can then spread the message to their parents.

Ijarogbe advised Nigerians to brush twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste in accordance with NDA recommendations.

"As such, we have subjected Pepsodent toothpaste to test before we endorsed it. And we are rest assured that it contains fluoride, an active ingredient that helps prevent tooth decay," he said.

Also speaking, Bunmi Adeniba, Category Manager, Oral Care, Unilever Nigeria, said the Pepsodent Triple Protection is one big breakthrough.

"Pepsodent gives you three benefits in one brush. The unique formulation of Pepsodent Triple Protection guarantees protection against cavities, stains and bad breath and these are the most prevalent oral care needs in most homes," she said.

By Chioma Obinna
Source: Vanguard (allAfrica.com)

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