Although the World Health Organisation estimates that five billion people worldwide suffer from tooth decay, oral health is an area that people in the UK definitely take for granted.

Tooth brushing, braces, dentist appointments – all of these activities are manifestations of the great privileges we have regarding access to oral health supplies in this country, yet are commonly regarded as nuisances taking away from our everyday lives.

Oral health is a particularly large problem in West Africa, where authorities do not see this area as a priority and therefore allocate very small budgets to the issue.

For this reason, the UK based charity The Oral Health Foundation recently donated a care package, containing a variety of oral health educational resources, to the Akato Primary School in Togo, West Africa. The material was donated after a celebration ceremony took place, with children, teachers, village elders and the local traditional ruler, His Highness Torgbui Agbeve Cyrille, all present.

Oral Health Foundation Helping Children in Togo Look After Their Teeth

By providing oral health resources to children at a young age, the charity hopes that the children will be given the resources that they need to successfully look after their own oral health throughout their own lifetime, as well as passing on their skills to the next generation.

Gavin Hawes, Senior PR and Press Officer for the charity, said about the donation, “More than 70% of the world’s population has no access to the most simple dental pain relief, leaving billions to face a daily battle with pain in the toughest of life circumstances. There is a desperate need to tackle oral disease, infection and chronic pain in communities throughout the developing world – to enable people to work, attend school and care for their families.”

“By helping to educate on oral health we hope that we can help to prevent many major oral health issues at an early stage and educate the communities about the importance of their oral health to other aspects of their lives. Many communities need help providing this information and this is something we endeavour to help with.”

The Oral Health Foundation was established in 1971, in order to improve oral health worldwide and reduce the harm caused by oral diseases, the majority of which are entirely preventable. The charity works with the UK and European governments, dental and health professionals, manufacturers within the dental trade, national and local agencies and the public.

In the last year alone, they have assisted 2,500 communities with their oral health through local events, worked with hundreds of schools to promote the value of a healthy smile, and used their Dental Helpline to provide advice to 10,000 people.

The Oral Health Foundation is also the charity behind the National Smile Month campaign, the largest and longest running oral campaign in the UK. Ongoing since 1977, the campaign promotes three key messages; brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cut down on sugary food and drinks, and visit your dentist regularly.

National Smile Month 2017, taking place between 15 May and 15 June, will see the organisation of 3,000 events within local communities around the UK.

To find out more about the charity click here.

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Kirsten Ehrlich is currently studying archaeology at UCL, but is interested in pursuing a career in journalism after gaining her degree.