17 | 12 | 2017

Providing oral health care remains a challenge

According to the world health organisation (WHO) oral health means being free of chronic mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral sores, birth defects such as cleft lip and palate, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay and tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that affect the mouth and oral cavity. Oral health enables an individual to eat, speak and socialize without disease, discomfort or embarrassment and contributes to general well being.

 

      

In Kenya, common oral health conditions include dental carries which is said to be highest among the middle social economic groups and has been seen as the leading cause of tooth with other causes of tooth loss being trauma, traditions that require extraction of teeth and periodontal disease. Dental fluorosis is also  common with its severity increasing concentration of fluoride in water. Other oral health problems are gingivitis, heavy plague and calculus deposits, maxillofacial traumas and oral cancer which however has been found to have quite a low incidence. Other conditions such as oral candidiasis affect people living with HIV AIDS while birth defects such as cleft lip and palate occur in around one per 500-700 of all births around the world, according to the WHO. However prevalence rate varies substantially across ethnic groups and geographical areas.

Oral health awareness in Kenya is on the rise and use of chew sticks common among rural population this according to available research helps guard against common oral conditions although increasing consumption of sugar may greatly compromise gains made. Often the main reason for such visits is to have tooth extracted. Such a tooth would often have gone through the stages of decay to the high cost of dental services places them beyond the reach of many.

The number of dental professionals in Kenya has been put at about 800 serving a population of 33 million. With such professionals working in urban areas and the high cost of services, majority of tooth decay cases go unattended. Working alongside dentists to address oral health problems are dental technologists, community oral health officers and dental assistants. Due to a shortage of professional staff, most of the population is likely to receive services from an unqualified person or none at all.

Other factors that contribute to poor oral health in the country are poor living conditions, low education and lack of tradition, beliefs and culture in support of oral health. Lifestyle behaviours such as tobacco and alcohol consumption and unhealthy diet are also to blame. In addition whereas Kenya boasts an oral health policy, budgetary allocation is negligible in the face of disasters such as HIV$ AIDS  and malaria.

Trinity United Methodist Church in Kenya has incorporated her services to teaching members and communities the need to take care of the teeth.  The church runs a 24 hours services medical clinic. 

At the moment the clinic is not able to offer dental services because of lack for dental equipments. Kindly circle us in prayers as to be able to be of blessings to the many needy dental patients especially children and youths who loose teeth at tender age.

We do have a well trained oral community health worker willing to volunteer thrice a week once we equip the clinic with dental equipments and medicines.  

The doors are open for local and overseas  dental medical mission teams.

To partner with us please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By: Nelly Chanzu

Clinical Officer

 Trinity Mission Dispensary

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