NIGERIAN Dental Association (NDA) has warned Nigerians desperate for the perfect smile on the dangers of teeth whitening procedures at beauty salons and spas.
It said that the tooth whitening procedure is strictly in the purview of the dentist to perform whenever the need arises and frowns at the practice of tooth whitening by beauty salons and spas.
Chairperson, NDA, Oyo State branch, Dr Adesola Odofin speaking at the 2022 World Oral Health Day in partnership with the Oyo State Ministry of Health, said the government needs to check this practice because the chemicals being used for teeth whitening can erode the enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. It can also make certain unhealthy conditions worse, gum irritation, brittleness of teeth and premature tooth wear.
According to Dr Odofin, “it’s not everybody that can do teeth whitening; it is a professional procedure that should only be done by dentists. Before we go ahead, there are some assessments to do to even know whether you are a candidate to have teeth whitened or not.”
She urged Nigerians to be proud of their mouth because of its importance on general health, wellbeing and quality of life as well as adopt healthy practices to reduce the burden of poor oral health, put at nearly 3.5 billion people globally.
The dentists stated that many people do not realise how an unhealthy mouth can have a severe impact on their lives, causing significant pain and suffering, leading to an impaired quality of life.
Dr Odofin declared, “Nigerians must imbibe the culture to visit the dentist once in six months. You don’t have to wait till you have dental pain or you discover a hole. The reality is a lot will happen in the mouth that will not come as pain but you won’t know if you are not a professional.
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“But if you visit the dentist once in six months everything will be taken care of, particularly we talk about scaling and polishing; that is the professional cleaning everyone should have. No matter how well you clean using the brush, you still need this professional cleaning every 6 months.”
Dr Odofin listed other preventive measures Nigerians should imbibe for a healthy mouth to include twice-daily tooth brushing, daily flossing, smoke and alcohol use cessation and reduction in intake of sugary diet.
Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Taiwo Ladipo said oral diseases such as tooth decay, gum diseases and other non-communicable diseases share modifiable risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use and sugar intake, and therefore a cost-effective solution and multisectoral response to prevent.
Dr Ladipo, speaking through Dr Mufutau Ayoola, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, stated that in promoting oral health in the state, in collaboration with other organisations, free toothbrushes and pastes were distributed to over 5,000 students across the state to enhance dental services.