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World Oral Health: Dangers of patronising beauty saloon for tooth whitening



Ahead of this year’s World Oral Health Day, the Nigerian Dental Association, NDA, has warned Nigerians against patronising beauty salons for their tooth whitening even as it called on the Federal Government to urgently address what they described as ‘nagging’ – drain in the country’s health sector.


Addressing a press conference to herald this year’s World Oral Health Day with the theme: Be Proud of Your Mouth”, the dentists raised the alarm over the practise of tooth whitening procedures by beauty salons, warning of a possible increase in cases of oral health complications in Nigeria.

In his submission, the President of the NDA, Dr Kolawale Obagbaniro stressed the need for the development of sustainable strategies for national preventive and therapeutic oral health services to cope with the magnitude of oral health challenges in Nigeria.

Noting that brain drain has become a big challenge in the dental health workforce, he said 1 doctor in Nigeria treats 45,000 patients, hence, the need for government to come up with strategies on retaining highly skilled professionals to curb quackery.


“The practice of tooth whitening procedures by beauty salons is frowned upon. Tooth whitening is a dental procedure and it is strictly in the purview of the dentist to perform whenever the need arises. These salons are not licensed to carry out medical procedures and can expose patients to other oral diseases, particularly, when the structure of the tooth is affected.”

While commending the Federal ministry of health for the formation of the National Oral Health Policy, he stated that if it is adequately implemented at all levels of the tiers of government it would improve the oral health status of Nigerian citizens.


Revealing that poor oral health affects nearly 3.5 billion people globally with far-reaching consequences, he said every year, 20th March is celebrated as World Oral Health Day to increase awareness on the prevention and control of oral diseases.


“We need to review the classification and pricing of dental treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme as we strive for increased coverage.

While acknowledging that the COVID-19 pandemic had negative effects on oral health, he said dental clinics were severely affected and are recovering following the availability of vaccines which decreased the fear associated with the pandemic among practitioners.

Corroborating his views, Vice President, NDA, Dr. Victor Nwabudike, lamented that while the World Health Organisation, WHO recommended a ratio of one to 7,500 patients, in Nigeria the modest ratio is 1 to 45,000, and currently, the country has only 5000 dentists.


Nwabudike begged Nigerians to stop patronizing beautify salons for tooth whitening, adding that it can introduce pathogens in the mouth resulting in more oral health complications.

Speaking, the Former President of the NDA, Dr Olabode Ijarogbe called on the Federal government to urgently review the remuneration and put in place infrastructures that would enable trained medical personnel to stay and practice in the country.

He lamented that 90 percent of his set has left the country since he graduated, regretting that the medical personnel migrates due to enticement by the western world. Brain -drain is a problem in the country and it is also biting harder It is a nagging one in the Nigeria health sector and it cut across doctors and nurses and other health workers due to the hard economic situation, they migrate.

“It is a clarion call to our government to look inward and improve on, especially the issue of the working environment to reduce the tide of brain-drain in the health sector. This is why we are seeing a more incessant strike

On his part, another past President, NDA, and the Medical Director, Ajeromi General hospital, Dr Olufemi Orebanjo, lamented that over the years, the Nigerian government has continued to trivialize the oral health of Nigerians, saying that, while oral health policy was launched in 2012, it is yet to be fully implemented.

“Government needs to wake up to its responsibilities. There is a need for government to take care of medical personnel because most of them are consumed by hazards from the job and only 5,000 are paid to them as compensation.”

“Nigerians patronizing quacks are risking their lives. Dentists don’t just see patients for only oral health problems but as a whole. Sometimes, in the process of attending to one oral health problem you end up finding more problems.”

Speaking on the various types of oral health diseases, former President of NDA, Dr Clement Oluwarontimi listed some of the major oral health diseases to include; periodontal disease, dental caries, and oral caries while others are tooth loss, maligned teeth, halitosis, dental fluorosis, cleft lip, and palate among others.

Also speaking, Brand Manager, Pepsodent, Unilever, Mrs. Tolulope Okuneye `said Unilever and the NDA have been in working together over the years to ensure that Nigerians have good oral health as the mouth is the gateway to the body and any problem that affects the mouth could affect other organs of the boy could ultimately lead to death. She said Unilever plans to reach about 1 million children with oral healthcare messages within the year.



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