By Felicia Imohimi
(NAN) The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Saturday advised Nigerians to visit the dentist every six months in order to check gum diseases and tooth decay.
Dr Abdulkadir Katagum, the Dental Health Coordinator for the FCT chapter of NMA, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He spoke ahead of the World Oral Health Day observed every March 20.
Katagum, who expressed displeasure over visitation to dental clinics only when patients have pains in the teeth, said such practice was unhealthy.
“You do not have to wait till you are experiencing pains on your gum before visiting the dentist.
“Pains occur when much damage had been done to your teeth,’’ he said.
According to him, the ideal practice for assured healthy mouth is to visit the dentist every six months.
Such visits, he said, would provide the opportunity to have the tooth examined for early signs of decay and gum diseases.
“If such diseases are detected early it can easily be treated and at low cost.
“Visiting the dentist every six months gives you the opportunity to do professional scaling and polishing of your teeth and helps to detect early signs of tooth decay and gum diseases.
“Tooth decay starts from the hard structure of the tooth passing the enamel to the dentine to the dental pulp which is the life of the teeth.
“If not treated on time, it can lead to tooth loss or severe pains.
“Oral health determines your general wellbeing because whatever enters your body passes through the mouth.
“If the mouth is unhealthy it means that every other part of your body is sick,’’ he said.
Katagum noted that the World Dental Day, which was inaugurated in March 2013 by the World Dental Federation, is to raise awareness on oral health and prevention of oral diseases.
This, according to him would enable government, health associations and the general public to work together to achieve healthier mouths and happier lives.
He said this year’s theme, “Live mouth smart,” was geared toward raising awareness to achieve healthy mouth and a healthier nation.
“The day offers every country opportunity to develop activities and initiatives aimed at increasing awareness on oral health as well as the impact of oral diseases on general health, well-being and the economy,” he added.