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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

- Wits University

The School of Oral Health is celebrating national Oral Health Month by offering staff and students free oral health screenings and oral education tomorrow.

A member from the School of Oral Health during an outreach aimed at WItsies

The national theme is It all starts here, Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body and is championed by the Department of Health and endorsement by the South African Dental Association.

Look out for two mobile dental clinics stationed at the Health Sciences Campus' parking area this Thursday, 26 September. The fluoride family opens at 09:00 and packs up at 14:00.

Below are tips from the School to maintain a healthy mouth.

Why is oral health important?

Oral health is an integral part of general health. Almost every condition in the body has signs and symptoms that occur in the mouth. So the mouth is a very good indicator of the general health of a person. Good oral health improves one's self identity and quality of life. The ability to chew, eat, and  speak is intricately linked to a healthy mouth. A bright smile is a sign of confidence that conveys the message that all is well.

What are some of the issues of concern that individuals do not know regarding oral health?

Half of the world population (3.5 billion people) suffer the consequences of untreated oral diseases. Oral diseases affects all individuals of all age groups, causing pain and discomfort; leading to a day missed at work or at school. Oral diseases are largely preventable or can be treated, such as cavities, gingivitis, halitosis, periodontitis, oro-dental traumas, oral manifestations of immunosuppressed individuals and oral cancer. Being aware of any changes in the oral cavity and not waiting for the pain or discomfort to escalate is important in maintaining your teeth and gums. There are 276 million individuals with no natural teeth thus you are encouraged to get regular dental check-ups to maintain a healthy smile.

Please share five tips for maintaining good oral health?

  • Brush your teeth twice daily for 2 minutes and remember to change your brush every 3-4 months
  • Floss frequently
  • Have a healthy diet
  • Be aware of any changes in your oral cavity such as changes in colour of gums and teeth; sensitivity to cold or hot; clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Get regular dental check-ups at Wits Oral Health Centre with our Oral Hygiene, Dental Students, Oral Hygienists, Dental Therapists, Dentists and Specialists.

What makes the Wits School of Oral Health special?

The Wits Dental School is regarded as one of the premier dental school globally. Our graduates have gone to occupy senior leadership positions in institutions all over the world. The international reputation of the School and the university gives us the edge in terms of clinical training and research. The School has developed its outreach teaching and learning programs that allows students to work in “real-world’ settings where the social and environmental determinants of oral disease are incorporated into clinical decision-making. Our School has also led the transformation drive and our senior leadership provides evidence of the enormous progress that has been made.

The number of international publications, collaborations, PhD and MSc postgraduates has significantly increased in the last five years. The School of Oral Health Sciences is developing satellite training and service delivery centres in Diepsloot, Zola, Chiawelo and other surrounding areas to give students the broadest exposure to communities during their training years at Wits.

Read more about the School’s work in surrounding commuinities.

Wits Oral Health sinks its teeth into World Oral Health Day