THE Ministry of Health is partnering with the Jamaica Dental Association and Colgate Palmolive to host a series of activities to promote good oral hygiene in October, which is being observed as Oral Health Month.
Under the theme "It's Oral Health Month.Are You Protected", the ministry will aim to educate and inform the public about the critical link between oral health and chronic diseases, maternal and child health and sexually transmitted infections.
"As a major part of this year's effort, activities will focus on diabetes and heart disease, which are major causes of death and morbidity among the Jamaican population," the ministry said yesterday.
According to the director of dental health services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Irving McKenzie, "Diseases such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS and cancers can exacerbate dental health problems such as periodontal disease and vice versa. Regular oral check-ups can reduce the impact of these diseases on the body and prevent complications due to diabetes and other chronic illnesses," said McKenzie.
McKenzie, who recalled the commitments made by the countries of the region at the Chronic Disease Summit held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2007, said good oral health was crucial for the achievement of the health objectives set by the region.
Oral Health Month starts today with a launch ceremony at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology on Thursday, October 1.
And as part of its activities, the university community in Mona will be offered oral health information and dental products. Throughout the month, there will be a programme of health promotion activities to build awareness about the importance of good oral health. Free clinical dental services will also be provided to vulnerable and high-risk individuals islandwide.