Enyeribe Ejiogu ([email protected])
Vice President of the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), Dr. Kolawole Obagbemiro, has reiterated the need for Nigerians to adopt the practice of visiting their dentists for regular check-ups and early detection of oral health problems.
Obagbemiro, who spoke against the background of the World Oral Health Day, marked on Wednesday, expressed the desire of the dental association to engage the 9th National Assembly after inauguration, towards enacting appropriate legislation that would entrench forensic dentistry and encourage families to keep dental records of their blood relations.
In a chat with Sunday Sun at the formal presentation of certificate of endorsement of Diplomat toothbrush by the association to GrapeTree International Limited, a leading indigenous oral care products company, Obagbemiro noted the growing need for family dental records to enable forensic identification of terribly burnt corpses.
He said: “One of the things that we advocate as a professional association is for people to visit their dentists regularly, at least twice a year, so that records can be kept for each patient and family members. Already, we have some members who are undergoing specialist training in forensic dentistry, both within and outside the country. The gospel we are preaching is that members of the public should visit their dentists in the same manner that they would go to see a doctor for medical checkup.
“They should not wait till they have severe pain in their mouth before going to visit a dentist. As it is said, early detection and prevention go a long way to sustain health. We will continue to advise that Nigerians develop the practice of visiting their dentists regularly. We are actually looking at engaging with the 9th National Assembly after inauguration, to discuss the relevant legislations. Through advocacy initiatives in collaboration with organisations like Grape Tree International, faith-based organisations and foundations, we will continue to create awareness about the need for people to take their oral health seriously. We are running programmes that target school children on oral health care, because we see school pupils as change agents too, who can make their parents take them to see dentists.”
On the developing relationship and partnership between the association and Grapetree International, he said: “It is a good thing that our association and the company are coming together in partnership to advance oral care in the country. What we are doing here is to establish a relationship that goes far beyond endorsement of the product. This is not a case of handing over the certificate of endorsement, rather it is an opportunity to interact and provide vital feedback to the company on the findings of the association regarding the product in the course of exhaustive evaluation that led to the decision to endorse the product and put the seal of the association on it. It is our belief that the feedback would help the company improve on the product and enhance the value it delivers to the end-user. This is the whole essence of the endorsement – to ensure that the product delivers value that enhances the oral health of our patients who will use Diplomat toothbrush for their oral care. We are also excited that the company has indicated interest in supporting our oral care awareness and public education initiatives. We will assist by providing insight on how to make necessary enhancements of the product.”
Chairman of the NDA Product Committee, Dr Lilian Enone, who presented a summary of the report on the evaluation conducted on the product, said that the committee followed the guidelines set by the United States Dental Association for the assessment of toothbrushes.
“Among these are the ergonomic design and features of each variant of Diplomat, with particular focus on the suitability of the variant to meet the primary purpose of effective cleaning of the teeth. The head and handle of the toothbrush should be of a shape and size that would allow it to reach and clean the teeth at the back of the mouth,” Enone said.
She explained that the committee made recommendations on what the company needed to do to radically improve the product,” Enone said.
In his response to the observations made by Obagbemiro and Enone, Chairman of GrapeTree International Limited, Sir Cyril Bob Okoye, said: “We are very appreciative of the decision of the NDA to endorse Diplomat toothbrush after it had undergone the evaluation of the association. We thank you for the excellent work you have done. This will signpost a good relationship between the association and our company, which I believe strongly will blossom to the benefit of all stakeholders in oral care in Nigeria – our firm, the association and the society at large.”
He assured that his company would fully implement the recommendations made by the NDA for enhancement of the ergonomic features of the three variants that did not exactly meet criteria.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Charles Okoye, a graduate of Business Administration, in a brief chat with Sunday Sun explained that one of the unique features of Diplomat is that it does not disappoint as the bristles do not pull out.
His words: “It is not like other toothbrushes that begin to fail within two weeks because the bristles start to pull out. Of course such toothbrush will not give you the desired service for good oral care. Diplomat toothbrush is not like that. It is a high quality toothbrush that is good for oral care. One other thing that makes Diplomat unique is that it does not hurt the gums because the bristles have no sharp ends; rather they have dull edges.