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Nigeria has only 84 qualified paediatric dentists left.

Professionals Worry Over Nigeria’s Precarious Oral Healthcare System

Medical professionals have urged Nigerians to take their oral hygiene seriously even as they expressed worry over the precarious situation of the nation’s oral health care system.

The decision was made by the specialists at the public lecture and 20th anniversary celebration of SSDendental Clinic Limited in Lagos, which has as its theme: Cancer-Free Body.

While praising the late senior dentist and clinic founder Dr. Iyabode Sofoluwe-Sadare, a pharmacist and administrator, Dr. Josephine Awosika expressed sadness over the dire state of oral health in Nigeria. She urged Nigerians to begin raising awareness in the early grades.

Awosika said: ‘Oral or dental awareness is very poor in Nigeria and I always imagine why because everything goes through the mouth both disease and good things, yet oral care is not taken as it ought to be.

“But I hope that we will start with our children, that’s where I started. I remember when we lined up in school, they inspected our teeth and everyone who has not, should be ready for disgrace but that has gone, it needs to come back,” she said.

On her part, the Founder of The Marcelle Ruth Cancer and Specialist Hospital, Dr Modupe Elebute-Odunsi, while speaking on the theme described cancer as a silent killer while stressing on the need for regular health checks.

While also emphasizing the need for oral hygiene, she stated that Nigeria is losing more patients in cancer due to late presentation.

She said: “In this part of the world, we are losing more than we are gaining because the majority of the patients we see are presenting when it has already spread.

Read Also: Oral Cancer with Low Survival Rate Curable – Maxillofacial Pathologist

“The fact that a patient has cancer or developed cancer does not mean it’s the end of their journey but it can be a problem if they present late.”

Comparing cancer to other diseases, she said cancer is the highest silent killer with 42 percent as against respiratory disease which is with nine percent, cardiovascular disease, 22 percent, liver disease, six percent and other diseases with 21 percent.

“Most of our citizens don’t go for health checks. We feel well most of the time and think that we are fine.

“It is not everything that a patient has symptoms to and that’s why you see that somebody who is walking around, feeling well can suddenly find out that they have an advanced cancer and it is the same for cardiac problems, and there are many things we don’t actually feel anything until it is too late.

“We need increased education and awareness for the communities at large to make sure that if they feel anything like discharge, bleeding that is not supposed to be there, they need to go and have access to care quickly.

“Cancer is a journey and if we can pick up cancer early, and we can treat them before they move to the other parts of the body, we will win that battle,” Elebute-Odunsi advised.

Also commenting on the choice of Cancer-Free Body as the topic of the day,

Madinat Oladejo, Chief Operating Officer of SSDendental facility Limited, said the facility is promoting body checkups to prevent patients from presenting with cancer later than necessary.

She said: “The founder of SSDendental, Dr. Iyabode Sofoluwe-Sadare, a seasoned dentist, was diagnosed with cancer sometime in 2016, and regrettably at that moment, it had metamorphosed into a worse problem because it was not recognized early.

“She battled against that all the way to the end. She might have been present with us today if the diagnosis had been made sooner.We don’t want people to be making mistakes on lack of awareness that wasn’t there as at the time,” she continued.