2024 World Oral Health Day: Pepsodent Launches ‘Talk to a Dentist’ Campaign

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·        Targets 10 million children by 2025

Sunday Ehigiator

In commemoration of the 2024 World Oral Health Day, Pepsodent, a prominent global toothpaste brand, has initiated a dental health campaign named ‘Talk to a Dentist’ in collaboration with the Nigerian Dental Association. The campaign aims to reach 10 million children by 2025, with its launch beginning in schools and communities across Lagos.

Speaking during a press conference to herald the commemoration of the 2024 World Oral Health Day, Marketing Head, Beauty & Well-Being and Personal Care, Unilever Nigeria, Oiza Gyang, said the campaign’s motive is to promote good oral health hygiene among children, emphasising Unilever’s commitment to combating poor oral health care in Nigeria.

Gyang highlighted the link between oral care diseases and absenteeism among school pupils, underlining Pepsodent’s efforts to reverse this trend through targeted initiatives.

“Globally, about 3.9 billion people suffer from one oral health condition or the other with tooth decay being the most prevalent oral disease. It has been established that children with poor oral health are more likely to suffer self-confidence and self-esteem issues. These days, we have since realized that the highest cause of school absenteeism is as a result of oral diseases,” she said.

In her welcome remarks, Category Manager of Oral Care at Unilever Nigeria, Eva Ogudu, outlined the campaign’s objectives to achieve zero cavities through consistent twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste like Pepsodent and regular dental check-ups. She emphasized the initiative’s broader goal of democratizing access to dental care, including free dental camps to eradicate oral diseases.

Ogudu reflected on past successes, noting the significant impact of previous campaigns in reaching millions of children and providing essential dental health services to thousands of Nigerians. She underscored the ongoing collaboration between Pepsodent and the Nigerian Dental Association in advancing oral health education and accessibility nationwide.

“Pepsodent’s ‘Talk to a Dentist’ campaign was launched three years ago in collaboration with The Nigerian Dental Association to promote oral health education by sensitizing Nigerians on the importance of visiting a dentist. In 2022 alone, we were able to reach 1 million children.

“In 2023, we took the awareness campaign a notch higher as the brand, in collaboration with NDA, reached 2 million children. Besides, we also provided free dental health checks for 50,000 Nigerians. In addition, we also reached 30 million Nigerians indirectly through the distribution of Pepsodent to various households.”

Also speaking, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Business, Unilever Nigeria, Godfrey Adejumoh, noted that the ‘Talk to a Dentist’ campaign embarked upon by Pepsodent remains one of the numerous initiatives outlined by Unilever Nigeria to improve people’s health, confidence and well-being. Adejumoh reiterated the company’s commitment to using its business to become a force for good in society.

On his part, Personal Care, Research & Development Head, Unilever Africa, Uchenna Nwakamma, explained that the Pepsodent brand remains the preferred toothpaste for driving oral health care agenda because of its patented formulation.

In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Dental Association, Dr. Tope Adeyemi, disclosed that about 90% of the world’s population are more likely to suffer from oral diseases in their lifetime.

Adeyemi stated that Nigerians must cultivate low-cost preventive practices such as brushing of teeth twice daily with fluoride-containing toothpaste, visiting dentists as well and adopting a healthy lifestyle to prevent common oral diseases.

While appreciating the longstanding partnership on the ‘Talk To Dentist’ programme,  he commended Unilever Nigeria for their steadfast commitment and support towards the actualization of optimum oral health among Nigerians.

“The Nigerian Dental Association is also celebrating the World Oral Health Day 2024 in conjunction with Unilever Nigeria Plc by carrying out various oral health promotional activities nationwide. These oral health promotional activities include; visits to schools, religious centres and markets; outreaches (free dental check-ups, S&P, GIC filings, simple extractions) to various communities; oral health awareness walks, educational programmes; advocacy visits and awareness through the mass media and social media channels etc,” he said.

He urged the Federal Government to integrate oral health services into the primary health centres, stating that doing so would reduce the burden of common preventable oral diseases and save dental expenditure costs.

“Currently, oral care services are mostly accessed as a secondary level of care in the NHIA. The NDA calls for preventive oral care services such as scaling and polishing of teeth, fluoride therapy, simple dental fillings, dentures and simple tooth extraction to be included in primary care of the NHIA,” he added.

Lamenting the limited access to oral health care services in Nigeria, especially in the rural areas, he stated that it was unfortunate that the dentist-to-population ratio currently stands at 1:53,828 against the recommended ratio of 1: 5,000.

Also speaking, the Director of the Dentistry Division at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Gloria Uzoigwe, acknowledged the government’s efforts to improve oral health policy, emphasizing ongoing initiatives to integrate oral health into primary healthcare. She commended Unilever for its contribution to oral health awareness and reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring universal access to dental care for all Nigerians.

Pepsodent’s “Talk to A Dentist” campaign signifies a collective effort to promote oral health awareness and accessibility, fostering brighter smiles and healthier futures for children across Nigeria. 

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