JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says there are plans to partner with the private sector on initiatives to encourage preventive oral care among Jamaicans.
  • Preventive care includes caring for the teeth through daily brushing and regular dental cleaning, in order to avoid cavities and gum disease.
  • The Minister said the dental care provided by these clinics is “fundamental as it is not just about good oral health…it is also about general health in terms of your ability to function. Cancers and other advanced forms of ailments are directly linked to how you treat with your oral health situation.”

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says there are plans to partner with the private sector on initiatives to encourage preventive oral care among Jamaicans.

Preventive care includes caring for the teeth through daily brushing and regular dental cleaning, in order to avoid cavities and gum disease.

“It’s about talking to persons about good oral health so we don’t run into the difficulties that we run into if we do not practise good oral health hygiene. We want to provide the infrastructure and guidelines for good oral health practices,” Dr. Tufton stated.

He was addressing the relaunch of Colgate’s Mobile Dental Unit on Thursday (April 7) at the Union Gardens Infant School in Kingston.

The unit, which was introduced in 2004 as part of Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures School Programme, was temporarily out of service to facilitate repairs.

Dr. Tufton welcomed the relaunch of the facility, which provides dental care for children between the ages of six and nine years old at primary schools across the island.

He noted that there are some 80 dental clinics located within the primary health system, which are accessed by some 300,000 Jamaicans each year.

The Minister said the dental care provided by these clinics is “fundamental as it is not just about good oral health…it is also about general health in terms of your ability to function. Cancers and other advanced forms of ailments are directly linked to how you treat with your oral health situation.”

Chairman of Kirk Distributors Limited, the local suppliers of Colgate, Glen Christian, noted that the mobile dental programme is important in improving the access of Jamaicans to good dental care.

“This school-based programme is significant and represents one of the most enduring examples of public/private… partnership. Through this programme, Colgate has endeared itself to a generation of Jamaicans,” Mr. Christian said.

The Colgate Mobile Dental Unit operates during the normal school year, from September to June, with breaks during the holiday period.

The unit relies on the committed work of the Ministry of Health’s dental auxiliary nurses in providing dental care and education, toothpaste and toothbrushes to 150,000 children annually from all across Jamaica.

The mobile clinic is like a moving dental office, which is thoroughly equipped with a dental chair, sterilisation equipment, a television set to play the oral care
videos, electric generator and an air conditioning unit and is manned by dental auxiliaries.