PDA and Pepsodent partner to improve Filipino kids’ oral health
Tooth decay, although preventable, is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. According to a recent national oral health survey, early childhood caries or ECC is now one of the most common chronic childhood diseases that afflict 97.1 percent of Filipino children 6 years old and below.
The good news is, a clinical data has shown that byusing good quality fluoride toothpaste, a twice daily brushing routine can reduce cavities in children by up to 50%, compared with brushing only once.
With this in mind, Pepsodent, an anti-cavity toothpaste brand from global consumer goods company Unilever, together with the Philippine Dental Association (PDA), has launched an intensive oral health and personal hygiene project targeted toward Filipino school-age children in Batangas province.
Dubbed “Batang May ‘K’”, the project is just one ofmore than 30 oral health improvement projects under the “Live.Learn.Laugh” program taking place around the world as part of a special global partnership between Unilever and the FDI World Dental Federation. After five years of partnership, a second phase was entered into in 2010 that sought to have a greater impact on oral health by focusing on one focussed goal – working together to measurably improve oral health through encouraging the practice of brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste among children.
In the Philippines,“Batang May K” is the localized program that seeks to improve young children’s oral health and overall readiness for school. Now on its second phase, it will soon be rolled out in a number ofpublic day care centers throughout Batangas. The program started off in 2007 as a general health program piloted in four municipalities in Batangas.To date, ithas benefited a total of 2,900 day care pupils in 108 day care centers in Calaca, Padre Garcia, Malvar and San Pascual in Batangas.
Phase II, which will start this coming school year, will be expanded to include eleven more municipalities namely: Talisay, Mataas Na Kahoy, Cuenca, Ibaan, Lipa, Nasugbu, Tingloy, Tuy, Bauan, Taal, San Nicolas, all in Batangas.
“Batang May ‘K” will not only encourage twice daily tooth brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, but will also educate children and caregivers about other vital healthy habits such as hand washing with soap, eating a nutritious diet, waste segregation, and bi-annual de-worming.
“Twice daily brushing is an important habit for a healthy mouth. Learning healthy habits as young children makes them part of a routine and by teaching children healthy habits in pre-school, we are giving them the gift of a healthier start in life,” explains Dr. Analia Mendez,Global Personal Healthcare and Home Hygiene Partnership Director, Unilever.
For his part, PDA President Dr. Roberto M. Tajonera states: “On all malignancies that can affect the human body, at least 3% befall the mouth which, in many cases, severely affect people’s daily functions. In fact, a number of Filipinos don’t often pay attention to toothaches believing that oral problems haven’t really caused mortality anyway -- which shouldn’t be the case. We at PDA believe that in order to enjoy life, one has to have a complete set of clean, healthy teeth, gums and all the surrounding tissues in the oral cavity first. As dentists, we have taken it upon ourselves to promote oral health care that’s why we felt so lucky to have had a partner in Unilever who has been very supportive of our endeavours through the years.”
Unilever shares the same belief as Dr. Tajonera, that’s why it has agreed to jointly undertake the Batang May K program with PDA. The company further believes that small, everyday actions, whether brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste or washing your hands with soap, can add up to a big difference for the world. These small actions can significantly reduce levels of tooth decay or the number of children who die from diarrheal diseases on a global scale.
“As part of the unique, global FDI-Unilever partnership, I am very proud of the Philippine Dental Association-Pepsodent partnership and their ambitionto reach over 22,000 pre-school children,” statesFDI World Dental Federation President, Dr. Roberto Vianna.
The FDI isa global membership organization of dental and oral health care professionals, composed of more than 200 member National Dental Associations and specialist groups, representing more than one million dentists worldwide in total.
“At the FDI, our vision is leading the world to optimal oral health, acknowledging oral health is a fundamental part of general health and well being. Our partnership with Unilever will continue to help drive this vision through projects like ‘Batang May ‘K’”, affirms Dr. Vianna.
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