Health & Wellbeing
JAM | May 4, 2023

Health Ministry offers Jamaicans ‘second chance’, with greater focus on oral health

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The growing number of dental extractions among Jamaicans, especially those of the productive age, has caused the government to shift its focus on implementing a Second Chance Smiles programme, to provide ten thousand Jamaicans with replacement dentures.

According to Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who announced the launch of the programme on Wednesday during his contribution to the 2023/2024 Sectoral Debate, some 10,000
Jamaicans under 60 years will get an opportunity to apply for replacement dentures through
over 82 dental centres across the island.

He explained that individuals who apply will get measured at these locations and orders made for manufactured dentures.

The programme is estimated to cost J$68 million over the course of 18 months.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton makes his contribution to the 2022-2023 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 (Photo: JIS)

According to the ministry’s data, a total of 62,000 tooth extractions were done last year.

The health minister explained that there is a preference among many individuals for extractions as a first option rather than preserving permanent teeth, which he believes restricts individuals from being productive citizens.

“When we extract, particularly poor people’s teeth, particularly when they are in the productive years of their lives, we might address the pain, but we also restrict their life chances for happiness and economic gain. That’s not in keeping with the principles we should represent,” Tufton said.

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