Hundreds of residents from across St. James benefited from free dental services during an oral health workshop held in Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay on Saturday (October 19).
The event was organized by St. James Public Health Services in partnership with the Colgate-Palmolive Company (Jamaica) Limited as part of Oral Health Month, being observed throughout October under the theme – ‘Say Ahh: Think Mouth. Think Health’.
The beneficiaries were provided with information on general dental health and preventive care, as well as treatment and screenings by a team of oral health professionals.
Acting Dental Nurses Supervisor for St. James, Cashma Lawson-Rhoden, told JIS News that the outreach initiative was aimed at encouraging persons to take responsibility for their oral health.
“For far too long, dental health has been like the ‘second cousin’ to general health in that persons will focus on their medical health… but when it comes to dental health, sometimes it takes a back seat,” she said.
Mrs. Lawson-Rhoden urged persons to bear in mind that “dental health is just as important as general health”, and emphasized the need for proper nutrition and diligent caring of the teeth by brushing after meals and visiting a dental practitioner twice per year to ascertain one’s oral health status.
Dental Surgeon at the St. James Public Health Department, Dr. Andre Spence, said the body’s general health starts in the mouth, noting that healthy teeth and gums aid in the digestion of food.
This, he pointed out, amplifies benefits to the body, while pointing out that dental ailments are, for the most part, preventative.
“So the primary focus is to make people aware that we can prevent diseases before they occur. We need to make Jamaicans aware that oral health is important. There are a lot of things you can do to prevent yourself from getting disease in your mouth,” Dr. Spence stated.
For her part, Colgate Brand Manager, Tashana Davis, lauded the public private partnership facilitating Saturday’s event, while emphasizing the need to heighten oral health awareness.
“We are helping persons to understand the importance of oral care and what is actually involved in good oral health practices,” she said.