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Nigerian Medical Journal

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The role of general dental practitioner in oral health

A Nwoku

Abstract


Although it is widely acclaimed in the recent past that the Nigerian has healthy set of teeth and no oral health problems. Our findings show that over 2.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 3 and 70 years attend dental clinics yearly for treatment. In spite of this, provision of oral health care and services at the local outage is highly deficient. Just as the eyes may be the window to the soul, the mouth is a window to the body's health. The state of oral health can offer lots of clues about the overall health as these are more closely connected than one might realize. Oral Health is connected to many health conditions beyond the mouth, and indeed, sometimes the first sign of a disease may show up in the mouth. The mouth is normally teeming with bacteria, and some researchers believe that these bacteria and inflammation from the mouth are linked to other health problems including heart disease. Other diseases that affect the oral cavity include, but not limited to caries, infections of the gum and jaws, malformations, benign and malignant tumours, as well as diabetes. The general dental practitioner therefore has very important duties. These include early recognition and diagnosis of oral health problems, oral health promotion, education and provision of care and services. Dental  professionals should make dental patients aware that oral health care can't wait. They should market their practice to increase business and oral health care awareness.

Key words: oral health, dental practitioner, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment




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