Minister of Health Peter Kumpalume has said oral health is not only about teeth and gums but tissues that may equally suffer the consequences of poor oral health such as tooth decay, bleeding gums and oral cancer.
He was speaking on Friday in Lilongwe during the launch of National Oral Week whose purpose was to promote healthy gums and teeth.
“Tooth decay is one of the common childhood diseases in Malawi. Studies have shown that over 50 percent of children between the ages of five and nine have at least one dental cavity and this proportion increases to 78 percent among 12 to 19-year-olds,” said Kumpalume.
The minister told the gathering that inadequate knowledge of tooth brushing techniques and eating refined carbohydrates like sweets and chocolates in-between meals increases vulnerability to oral diseases.
Colgate Palmolive senior customer deputy executive Emily Jere said her company carries out a number of activities that protect teeth from decaying.
“These will include oral health and hygiene inspection, screening for oral conditions, dental treatment, distribution of toothpaste and tooth brushes that contain fluoride and calcium,” said Jere.