Actress Mercy Johnson, Otto Orondaam (slum2school), Dental professionals and others joined Pepsodent Round table to discuss the importance and actions to foster good oral hygiene with the pandemic

Pepsodent, a Unilever global oral care brand has been at the forefront of educating Nigerians on the importance of good oral hygiene practices and its effect on overall health. Over the past year, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic nudged people to re-prioritise their overall health and wellbeing. However, this positive shift did not translate into better oral care practices, which is a cornerstone of physical health.

A global research conducted by Pepsodent revealed that fewer people are brushing twice a day in comparison to two years ago (pre-pandemic), with a 5% drop in adults and an 11% drop in children. Parents admitted to being more relaxed with their child’s oral health habits during the pandemic. Three in five (61%) parents let their child eat sugary foods before bed. The research also shows that parents’ poor oral habits have an impact on children, this impact was accurately captured in the research findings that indicated that children are seven times more likely to skip teeth brushing if their parent do not brush day and night.

Driven by the new research data, Pepsodent launched a global campaign #BrushWithMe for its 2021 World Oral Health celebrations, which highlights the importance of building good oral care routines within the family. In Nigeria, the #brushwithme campaign was launched with a round table, COVID compliant conference of 15 delegates held at the Unilever head office, Oregun, Ikeja. Physically present were parent influencers; Mercy Johnson Okojie and Sisiyemmie who agreed that oral health was not prioritized during the lockdown and their relaxed habits affected the oral hygiene of their children.

Dental professionals in attendance Dr. Timi Akinmuda; CEO Blanche Dental Clinic, Dr. Mrs. Alonge, Director of Dentistry, Federal Ministry of Health, and representatives from the NDA; Dr. Uyi Idah and Dr. Feyisike Dauda pointed out that less people visited the dental clinics for oral check-ups although there has been more reported cases of oral health issues in the past one year. Dr Precious Ofili who joined virtually also mentioned that oral health diseases are largely caused by poor oral health hygiene although some oral health challenges are caused by more intrinsic issues within the body system.

Otto Orondaam, the founder of Slum 2 School initiative was in virtual attendance and he gave credit to Pepsodent on the availability of lower unit packs of toothpaste which is more affordable for parents and children in the lower rung of the economic ladder as well as the good job Pepsodent had done so far with the yearly brush day and night schools program. He however encouraged that more work can be done.

Dr Mrs. Alonge, Director of Dentistry for the Federal Ministry of Health, clearly noted that brushing at night was a good preventive measure against oral health diseases such as cavities and tooth decay as it helps to prevent the overnight infestation of the tooth by microorganisms which in turn leads to holes in the teeth and decay.

In line with research findings, experts agreed that tooth decay is the world’s most widespread disease and dental cavities are one of the most prevalent conditions amongst children in the world. These are easily preventable by establishing a regular routine to brush both day and night with a fluoride toothpaste, reducing sugar consumption, and visiting the dentist regularly.

Toluwaleke Salu, Category Manager for Oral Care, emphasized Pepsodent’s commitment towards adhering to industry standards and consumer health. She also revealed the tremendous work Pepsodent had done over the years on educating over 5 million school children on the importance of brushing day night, equipping them with free samples of Pepsodent toothpaste and toothbrushes.

At the heart of the #BrushWithMe Campaign is the launch of the #brushwithme online challenge that aims to reinforce the importance of parents prioritising their own oral health, as children mimic their everyday habits. By making brushing an established routine for the family, it elevates the simple, twice-daily act as a pillar of good health. Participants are expected to take a picture with their kids brushing day and night and upload on their social media handles with #brushwithmeNG, #PepsodentWOHD21 and tag @pepsodentng.

The event ended on a high note with key learnings from dental professionals on diets and habits that can help improve oral hygiene for families and individuals. All attendees attested to have learnt new things as regards oral health and pledged to foster good oral hygiene for themselves and those around them.

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