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Lack of children's dentists causing poor oral health

Health & Science - By Jeckonia Otieno | January 20th 2019 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Participants follow proceedings during the 2nd Tri-Regional Meeting "A New Smile for Africa" of the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry at Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango/Standard]

Kenya has a critical shortage of paediatric dentists. The country has only 40.

This revelation came up during a meeting of the International Association of Paediatric Dentistry attended by dentists who focus on children’s oral health.

Dr Nicholas Gichu, chairperson of the Kenya Association of Paediatric Dentists said children’s oral health is a neglected field despite its importance.

“40 pediatric dentists in a population of 40 million is not tenable and this is why we are advocating for more dentists,” Gichu said at the event held at a Nairobi hotel.

He said oral health among children is an important area that Kenya must focus on because any problem in the mouth affects a person's overall well being.

“Primary teeth is important to the health and well-being of a child because if there is pain, a child cannot feed well or be comfortable,” said Gichu.

Gichu also cited lack of education on oral health which has led to 75 per cent of children having gingivitis and 23 per cent developing cavities in the teeth.

Dr June Njama said improper breastfeeding or bottle feeding is a leading cause of tooth decay among children.

“When a child is breastfeeding or bottle feeding and falls asleep, the mother needs to withdraw the breast or bottle as this causes nursing bottle decay.”

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