JIS News

Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, has emphasised that there is an inextricable link between oral health and chronic diseases.
“Diseases such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, and cancer can cause oral health problems,” the Minister said, adding that taking care of one’s teeth could combat implications and complications of diabetes and reduce inflammation throughout the body, associated with diseases, such as cardio-vascular illness.
Mr. Spencer’s message was read by Director of Mental Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Earl Wright, at the launch of Oral Health Month, at the Ministry’s downtown offices in Kingston, today (October 1).
The Minister informed that diseases such as diabetes, nutrient and vitamin deficiencies and hormonal irregularities might be detected through oral examinations, stressing that “this is why getting regular check-ups is important, especially for diabetics who can develop tooth and gum problems if their blood sugar level is high.”
“High blood sugar levels usually affect the healing time of wounds. Regular check-ups also provide important information on overall health,” he noted, adding that when the oral health improves, overall health improves.
In observance of the month, the Minister encouraged everyone to “brush up on your healthy lifestyle.” He also urged persons to brush their teeth twice per day, preferably first thing in the morning and just before going to bed; to floss daily; and to visit their dentist every six months.
“Through the work of the Dental Health Division, the Ministry will continue to facilitate on-going oral health education, full access to dental health services and the establishment of partnerships that will enhance the dental health objectives of Jamaica,” he said.
Oral Health Month will be staged under the theme: ‘Good Oral Health is the Key to Unlocking a Healthier Way of Life’, through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Health and Environment, Colgate and the Jamaica Dental Association.
Throughout the month, there will be a consistent programme of health promotion activities to build awareness about the importance of good oral health. Free clinical dental services will be provided to vulnerable and high risk individuals islandwide. Areas to be targeted include Portland Cottage, Rocky Point, Maxfield Park Children’s Home, National Children’s Home, Windsor Girls’ Home, Mustard Seed Community and Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre.