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World Oral Health Day: Access to oral health care, major problem in Cameroon

By Stephen TADAHA

Access to dental health in Cameroon remains a critical issue as studies indicate that 95% of children aged 3-18 years have never visited a dentist while only 23% of them brush their teeth at least twice a day according to a study recently carried out in the West Region of Cameroon by the American based international medical statistical journal, PubMed.

On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the world commemorated World Oral Health Day under the theme ‘A happy mouth is a happy body’ with a call to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health given that everyone deserves access to quality oral health care and the knowledge needed to maintain a healthy mouth.

Dr. Noubissi Sona a dentist at the Babadjou Medical Centre defines Oral health as the absence of pathogens in our oral cavity.

Dental caries and gingivitis are the most common diseases linked to oral health as told us by the dentist.

‘Dental caries is one of the most common infections in the oral cavity, followed by gingivitis and
also oral cancer but the most recurring one is dental caries,’ he said.

To prevent these diseases, one is recommended to visit a dentist at least once a year and brush the teeth at least two or three times a day with a toothbrush and its accessories, the expert furthered.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), oral diseases are among the most common non-communicable diseases in the African region and can occur throughout life, leading to pain, disfigurement, social isolation, distress, and even death. Cameroon regrettably has only one dental surgeon per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 66 in France, which is a major barrier for most inhabitants of rural areas to access dental care

According to figures from the National Order of Medical Doctors in Cameroon, 70% of children and youths suffer from oral health-related diseases and tooth decay is the most common oral health disease.

Source: Cameroon News Agency