A Dentist at the Atekyem Hospital in Koforidua, Eastern Regional Capital, Dr.Emmanuel Baah Abeka has charged Ghanaians to practice good oral hygiene for better kissing experience and general well-being.
According to him, a passionate deep kiss in a healthy mouth has some health benefits by increasing saliva which helps to keep healthy teeth and gums adding that kissing stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that fight foreign bacteria and sanitizes the mouth.
He, however, cautioned that poor oral hygiene and some health conditions of an individual could make kissing dangerous to one’s health.
He explained that some disease-causing bacteria and viruses could easily be transmitted through the oral cavity during kissing.
“Some diseases are more easily spread through kissing than others. There is one condition we call aggressive periodontitis which the bacteria can easily be transferred”.
Dr.Baah Abeka said this when the Atekyem Hospital held a free dental screening for the second time this year as part of the effort to improve oral hygiene among residents.
Oral health diseases remains one of the major national public health concerns in Ghana with alarming prevalence rate currently ranging between 52 per cent to 68 per cent for periodontal diseases and 12per cent to 24 per cent for caries while knowledge and attitudes towards oral health remain poor, with a toothache being the most recorded cases in Dental Units at various health facilities with dental care services
Dental diseases have been linked to absenteeism among School Children affecting their academic performance while productivity is affected among the working class.
Despite these implications, many Ghanaians do not frequently patronize oral health Services while awareness remains low in Ghana.
Dr Baah Abeka bemoaned the alarming rate of poor oral hygiene among Ghanaians most of whom seem to be careless until they develop serious health complications. He said at least one must visit a dentist for an oral check-up every six months to maintain healthy oral condition.
“Sometimes a common toothache will lead to a Jaw swelling and will progress further to a swelling involving the lower neck which may eventually raise the tongue, push the tongue backwards and sometimes cause death. We’ve had some cases that have resulted in deaths. So it is serious, it is not as simple that if you have a toothache you go and find some concoction to numb the place it is a serious issue that we have to pay attention to”
Dr.Abeka blamed poor brushing and flossing of the teeth, bad lifestyle and some other underlining health conditions such as diabetes as major causes of oral diseases including halitosis.
He observed during recent dental screening exercise ” we found out that with the elderly the gum disease (periodontal) and also cervical abrasion and with the young ones too we found out inflammation of the gum. And it appears those in middle-class income had relatively good oral hygiene as compared to those in the lower class income bracket”.
Dr.Emmanuel Baah Abeka stated that ideally nobody should loss a single tooth before dying if good oral health is strictly observed.
Ghana, with a population of about 30 million has about 400 registered dentists woefully far bellow WHO minimum requirement.
Ghana in 2006, initiated move to draft a National Oral Health Policy aimed at improving oral health in the country but little has been heard about it.