Health & Wellbeing
JM | Oct 6, 2022

‘Care to keep’: Tufton bats for greater oral health hygiene in Jamaica

/ Our Today

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Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton addresses the launch of National Oral Health Month 2022, at the ministry’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. (Photo: JIS)


Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has called for more emphasis to be placed on the prevention of dental decay, and the strengthening of outreach activities for young children.

Tufton, addressing the launch of National Oral Health Month 2022 in New Kingston yesterday (October 5), said a lot of work has been done by the ministry’s dental unit to encourage good oral health, but the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had restrained the activities, and they must be resumed.

“We need to go where prevention and the message around prevention has the greatest impact; it has to start in the school, and with children,” he said, arguing that the extraction of teeth cannot be the best feature of dental care.

According to the minister, too many people are held back on different prospects because of dental issues, including disfigurement of their faces, and once the budget is in place, the Health Ministry needs to reach those persons as well.

“I want to see us get back there. We must go into the school rooms and help the children to understand the importance of good oral hygiene, and from there, we need a corrective strategy for those persons who have gone through the process of mass extractions,” Tufton told the audience.

He urged his team to do more and “push prevention” and to ensure that the outreach programme is sustainable for persons in need.

The month-long activities are being observed under the theme ‘Be Proud of Your Mouth and take care of your Oral Health, for your General Health and Happiness’.

For the first time, October 2 was declared ‘Oral Health Professionals Day’ in Jamaica, by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen.

Special emphasis has been placed on Oral Health Month 2022 by the World Health Organization (WHO), due to its strong linkage with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and chronic illnesses, as most oral diseases and conditions share similar modifiable risk factors, with the leading ones being cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.

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