Frema Osei-Opare, Unilever Director unhappy with 3 in 10 children missing school because of tooth pain

Madam Frema Osei-Opare with Mrs. Nana Yaa Owusu Ansah being taken through the brushing drill

To mark World Oral Health Day on March 20 in Ghana, Unilever Ghana Limited has staged an oral health day durbar at the Black Star Square drawing in pupils from schools in the metropolis.

Chief of Staff and Key note speaker; Madam Frema Osei-Opare mentioned poor oral care is a problem afflicting deprived as well as industrialized countries noting in England, a five year study showed 27.4 million children start school with caries and with time lose 3 or 4 tooth.

Madam Frema Osei-Opare

She submitted in Ghana, a report showed 40% of 12 years olds suffer from decayed, stained and missing teeth adding children tend to be distracted, skip school and classes due to discomfort associated with oral pain.

A ‘Smile’ study showed only 39% brush their teeth day and night a situation she described as worrying. She declared government will continue to aid in the education and sensitization of the masses to boost oral care while investing in health centres and other infrastructure to boost health delivery.

Mrs. Nana Yaa Owusu Ansah; the Beauty and Personal Care Director of Unilever Ghana and Nigeria indicated that Unilever and by extension Pepsodent took the oral health of citizens seriously leading to partnerships with the Ministries of Health and Education to reach basic schools to orient them on good oral care, provide them with brushes and tooth paste as well as show them how to properly brush teeth using the circular motion.

Mrs. Nana Yaa Owusu Ansah

She was hopeful that by 2023, 10 million Ghanaians both young and old would have strong teeth as well as be skilled in maintaining a healthy oral care regime.

According to Madam Owusu Ansah, the oral team is leaving no stone unturned in reaching people and moving them from ignorance to the light underlining the campaign has engaged pupils and adults at schools, lorry stations, and malls.

Brushing twice a day, visiting the dentist once a year and changing one’s tooth brush once every 3 months are healthy oral care practices to adopt.

The ‘Smile’ study was conducted among children aged 6-17 years and their parents, in 8 countries namely Chile, Egypt, France, Italy, Indonesia, US, Ghana and Vietnam.

In Ghana it emerged a good number of children experienced oral pain in the past year. Over 6 in 10 (65%) children felt pain due to their teeth in the past 12 months, 60% among children aged 6-12 and 71% among children aged 13 to 17.

The report continued:

Almost a third of children in Ghana have missed school in the last year due to oral pain.

-3 in 10 (29%) children have missed school due to oral pain in the last year – equivalent to 3 million children in total

-On average, children are missing 9 days each every year – equivalent to 25 million days in total

Smile’s prevention initiative for 25 years including working through school programmes and free dental check-ups for 25 years has given protection to 80 million folks.

Unilever Ghana Limited is a multinational consumer goods company that markets beverages, cleaning agents, food and personal care products. It is the largest producer and retailer of consumer goods in Ghana. One of its leading products is the Pepsodent toothpaste.

By Michael Eli Dokosi/