The minister of state for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that tobacco use has been estimated to account for over 90 per cent of oral cancer cases recorded in the country annually.
The minister stated this yesterday, at the opening ceremony of the Two-Day Technical Workshop of the Dental Therapists’ Registration Board of Nigeria (DTRBN), held in Abuja.
Represented by the Head, Dentistry Division, Hospital Services, Dr. Bola Alonge, Ehanire said that the worrisome situation could be reversed through deliberate actions carried out to motivate people to change unhealthy lifestyle habits and also improve their oral hygiene behaviours.
He therefore urged allied dental professionals in the country to develop skills that enhance their practice and above all improve the oral health of Nigerians.
“Many epidemiological surveys show the significant role of socio-behavioural and environmental factors in the occurrence of oral disease.
“Tobacco use has been estimated to account for over 90 per cent of cancers in the oral cavity and is associated with aggravated periodontal breakdown, poorer standard of oral hygiene and consequently premature tooth loss. “I, therefore, urge you to adopt counseling methods that help people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivations they need to change their behaviours,” the minister said. Speaking on the theme of the workshop: “Motivational Interviewing and Oral Health Behaviour; the Evidence, Eminence, and Exigency”, the Registrar of DTRBN, Mrs Mercy Ojo, said that the aim was to present evidence-based information so that dental professionals can make informed decisions regarding patient’s treatment and recommendations.