#Kingston, May 9, 2019 – Jamaica – Chief Dental Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Irving McKenzie, is imploring Jamaicans to take care of their dental health as they age.
He told JIS News that while the country has made strides in combatting childhood dental challenges, particularly among the five to six and 12 to 13 age cohorts, as persons grow older, they seem to depart from good dental practices.
“Jamaica has become successful in reducing the disease burden due to dental caries (tooth decay or cavities) from 6.7 to 0.8. However, when you look on the graph about the severity of caries, it is increasing with age,” Dr. McKenzie said.
He was speaking with JIS News at a dental fair for adolescents held on Monday (May 6), at the Half-Way Tree Transportation Centre in St. Andrew.
Dr. McKenzie said that “good oral health matters” and will not only ensure that teeth last a lifetime but contribute to overall wellness. He noted that many children spend “considerable time out of school” due to illness related to dental decay. He said that facial disfigurement can also result from irregular dental care.
The dental health fair was held as part of activities to observe Dental Auxiliary Week, and included free checks and cleaning for scores of adolescents.
Dental nurse and Regional Dental Auxiliary Coordinator at the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Sharon Headman, said parents should help their children to develop good oral health habits.
“Parents should ensure that their children always get their six-month checkup and for the students, they must realise that they have a responsibility, too, to get themselves orally fit. Oral health is important, because good health begins in the mouth,” she said.
Contact: Garfield L. Angus
Header: Chief Dental Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Irving McKenzie (centre), engages in discussion with Consultant Dental Surgeon in the Ministry, Dr. Rena Francis (left); and Coordinator for the Ministry’s Adolescence Health Programme, Joy Chambers. Occasion was a dental health fair for adolescents on Monday (May 6), at the Half-Way Tree Transportation Centre in St. Andrew.
Insert: Dental Auxiliary Coordinator at the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Sharon Headman, speaks with JIS News at a dental health fair for adolescents on Monday (May 6), at the Half-Way Tree Transportation Centre in St. Andrew.
Photos by Adrian Walker