YOUR chewing stick is as good as your toothbrush, the Dental Therapists Registration Board of Nigeria, DTRBN, has declared.The Board has also given a pass mark to traditional tools for maintaining oral hygiene in Nigeria, arguing that apart from being efficient in keeping the mouth clean, they are also medicinal. The Acting Registrar, DTRBN, Mrs. Mercy Ojo, told Good Health Weekly that maintenance of good oral hygiene does not necessarily have to be with toothbrush and toothpaste, because there are chewing sticks that perform as well if not better than toothbrushes. “We recommend chewing sticks like Pako Ewuro or Pako Orogbo that act as cleaning agent and remove the coat on the tongue.
These chewing sticks are known to motivate pregnant women to eat and act as an appetizer.” Further, Ojo, a Dental Therapist noted: “Pako Ayan’ cleans the teeth and arrests the Sickle Cell Anemia in those affected. Pako Emigbegiri cleans the teeth and it is not advisable for ulcer patients. Pako Ijebu and Pako Ibo clean the teeth, make it whiter and it serve as appetizer while Pako Meyinro cleans and strengthens loose teeth.
It also helps to reduce periodonties while Pako Dudu or Pako Pupa cleans teeth but discolours it.” Ojo who disclosed that poor oral hygiene contributes to different oral diseases lamented that too many people fail to abide by the principle of brushing twice a day. “Ideally, you should just flush your mouth with water when you wake up in the morning and do the brushing of your teeth after breakfast to keep your mouth clean and with fresh breath for the rest of the day. “But because many people may forget to do that after the meal or may not feel comfortable, the idea of brushing first thing in the morning comes in. Ideally you should brush your teeth after breakfast.” Sounding a note of warning, Ojo said failure to brush last thing at night gives microorganisms like bacteria opportunity to act on leftover food to produce acids that destroy the teeth.
She urged people to visit their dentist twice in a year and cautioned against patronizing quacks who sell drugs like Touch & Go, acid water, battery water at the motor parks, buses and discourage people from visiting their dentists. On her part, the Chief Dental Therapist, Isolo General Hospital and Coordinator, Lagos State Dental Therapists, Mrs. Olufunke Odunowo urged people to maintain good oral hygiene and report to the clinic