How Pepsodent bridges oral health gaps in Nigeria among children, adults

ByAlyson R. Briggs

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Oral diseases are one of the most common diseases that pose a major health burden affecting nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide even though many of them are preventable and can be treated in their early stages by brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and practicing other oral hygiene activities, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO also notes that in most low and middle income countries, the prevalence of oral diseases such as tooth decay, periodontal diseases, oral cancers, oro-dental trauma, etc. continues to increase among children and adults with growing urbanization and changes in living conditions.

Most prevalent is the tooth decay also known as cavities caused by poor oral hygiene, poor diet choices, bacteria, etc. the Humble Smile Foundation (HSF) notes in an article that tooth decay affects nearly 100 percent of the adult population and 60–90 percent of children globally while in Nigeria 30 percent of the population suffer from this disease.

“In 2017, the lowest numbers of prevalent cases of tooth decay in milk teeth (41 million cases) were observed in high income countries and the highest in lower-middle-income countries (265 billion cases); for permanent teeth, the highest were found in lower income countries with 9.43 billion cases and upper middle-income countries with 7.68 billion cases,” HSF noted.

According to dental experts, untreated tooth decay can have a serious long-lasting effect especially on children’s growth, brain development and overall health with many children consequently missing out on school and social opportunities.

This is further worsened by the lack of optimal dental care especially in Nigeria due to affordability and access leaving majority of tooth decay cases untreated. Data from BMC Oral Health shows that as at 2012, Nigeria had about 4125 registered dentists for 167.2 million people which is about 40,000 people to 1 dentist, however, by 2017, the population of Nigeria was estimated at 193 million and the dentist population ratio was reported to have dropped to 1 dentist for every 38,600 people.

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Pepsodent as an oral care brand has tried to bridge these gaps in Nigeria since its launch in 2011 having been at the forefront of driving conversations on good oral hygiene and eradicating oral diseases through initiatives like the Schools Program, Mobile Dental Clinics, Oral Health Education Conferences, and various consumer education and engagement across digital and traditional media.

Its sincere and sustained commitment to tackling oral healthcare issues in Nigeria especially among children is consistent with the agenda of its parent company, Unilever which is solving social problems.

Already the brand has successfully reached over five million children across the country through its schools program with an ambition to reach 10 million children by 2024.

The brand has initiated and sustained partnerships with relevant associations and agencies such as the World Dental Federation (FDI), which is the principal representative body for over one million dentists worldwide and the brand’s partnership with the Nigerian Dental Association, which is the local representative body of all dentists in Nigeria to drive its ambition.

Pepsodent toothpaste endorsed by the Nigerian Dental Association is a brand that delivers excellently on anti-cavity protection, fresh breath, and teeth whitening leveraging its partnership and product offerings.

To commemorate the 2022 World Oral Health Day which is a yearly activity celebrated globally to increase awareness of the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and educate the public on the major activities that help to ensure good oral hygiene, Pepsodent embarked on a project to engage one million children in the country through the educational schools’ program with emphasis on the importance of brushing day and night.

The company also gave out free toothpastes and toothbrushes to facilitate their brushing habits.

Eva Ogudu Category Manager, Oral Care, Unilever revealed that the brand, in partnership with the Nigerian Dental Association, provided mobile dental clinics in specific neighborhoods across the country to give free dental services to consumers and make Pepsodent toothpaste available to them to drive consistent brush twice daily communication.

“In addition, to our mobile dental clinic initiative for this year, there was an online digital activation through Instagram live videos tagged ‘Ask Your Dentist’ which was launched March 20, 2022, to provide consumers direct access to a dentist to ask their dental related questions,” she said.

Through these initiatives we aim to help millions of people take control of their oral health and avoid severe pain, costly and complicated treatments, and ultimately tooth loss through these services which would run yearly,” Ogudu said.

With this, Pepsodent is set to consolidate its position as a thought-leader in oral health matters in Nigeria and strengthen its resolve to tread the path of promoting good oral health among Nigerians.


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