By Chioma Umeha
To tackle the low level of poor oral healthcare awareness, dental practitioners across the country have set up a Dental Support Foundation (DSF) to promote, and encourage dental practice in the country.
President of the Foundation, Dr. Bidemi Dawodu explained to journalists in Lagos last weekend that the current high prevalence of oral diseases, such as dental caries and periodontal infection, should be seen as a major source of concern to professionals in the sector.
Professor Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, raised the alarm recently when he said the burden of dental disease has risen to an epidemic proportion.
Dawodu submitted that the DSF therefore seeks to encourage the government to implement the Nigerian Oral Health Care Policy aimed at ensuring the creation of at least one dental care center in each Local Government Area (LGA) with a view to improving the oral health of Nigerians.
The foundation, which was incorporated three years ago, will equally strive to encourage dental practitioners to undertake measures to improve public oral health and dental education.
It will also seek to maintain the dignity of the dental profession, protect the rights/interests of young dentists, and create job opportunities for young dentists.
Other objectives, according to Dawodu, include reducing the burden of equipment acquisition to the barest minimum and fostering of friendship, co-operation and co- existence among the members of the profession both young and old.
“The starting point is to create awareness among the people about dental health care. It is so bad today that people don’t visit the dentist until they have serious aches in their mouths,” he said.
“But, what is crucial is the implementation of the oral health policy passed by the National Assembly a long time ago.”
Dawodu emphasised that the implementation of the policy will promote oral healthcare and create employment for dentists, stressing that the major objective is the setting up of dental clinics in all the LGAs in the country.
Other members of the dental board include, Dr. Ademola Ademuson, a Dental Surgeon with over 35 years in dental practice and Dr. Akanbi Oluwarotimi Olojode, a consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon with the Lagos State Health Commission.
The rest are, Dr. Ishaku Danfillo, Consultant General, Dental Practice (Family Dentistry) with Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos; Dr. Tola Owoturo, a Family Dentistry specialist with core interest in Endodontics and Aesthetics; Dr. Dahiru Labo, Dr. Grace Mang and Dr. Bola Awokoya.