Oral diseases are the most common diseases worldwide even though many of them are easily preventable through a cultivation of healthy oral behaviour including brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Findings show that tooth decay affects nearly 100 per cent of the adult population of the world and 60–90% of children worldwide. What more, the affected persons are not limited to developing or third world countries alone.
Study has shown that untreated tooth decay can have a serious and long-lasting effect on children’s growth, brain development and overall health leading to many children consequently missing out on school and social opportunities while they may fail to reach their full potential in life.
Available research data on dental health status in the country has it that, “Oral care in Nigeria is a major socio-economic challenge, with just about 4,125 registered dentists in the country, which translates to approximately one dentist to 45,000 people. Again, majority of dental decay remains untreated due to inappropriate and or unaffordable dental care services and products.
This is why Unilever Nigeria, through its oral care brand, Pepsodent, is raising awareness on the importance of good oral hygiene practices and has been driving this behavioural change with the ambition of reaching 100 million people around the world through its Brush Day & Night campaign. This initiative is premised on research results that have indicated that brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste like Pepsodent greatly decreases the chances of cavities and toothaches in adults and children.
Since the launch of the brand in Nigeria in 2011, Pepsodent has displayed a sincere and sustained commitment to tackling oral healthcare issues in in the country. This is consistent with the agenda of its parent company, Unilever, which revolves around solving social problems which is at the core of the brand’s purpose.
In this regards, the brand has initiated and sustained partnerships with stakeholders, shaped narratives and raised the bar of consciousness among children and adults promoting oral hygiene in Nigeria. One of the brand’s such partnerships is the partnership with 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.
Building on these partnerships, the brand has continued to promote the World Oral Health Day celebration as the official global sponsor of the event as one which the brand has consistently used to drive the cavity-free Nigeria agenda. It was at the World Oral Health Day celebration in 2015 that the brand launched the Pepsodent Brush Day & Night school’s programme and set a target to reach 10 million children in Nigeria by 2020.
The Pepsodent Brush Day & Night school program has been a huge success with Pepsodent having reached over 5 million children since the launch of the initiative. The program is based on the premise that toothache is the number one reason for kids missing school in many countries including Nigeria. When kids miss school, it not only their education that suffers, their overall development including their social interaction also suffers. Thus, Pepsodent goes to primary schools in Nigeria to teach children not just how to brush correctly, but also the importance of brushing twice daily.
The Pepsodent Brush Day & Night campaign is jointly managed the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Dental Association, the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), State ministries of health, the Wellbeing Foundation and other key public and private sector based stakeholders.
Speaking at the 2018 celebration of the World Oral Health Day through the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, commended the initiative and said the partnership between the Federal Ministry of Health and Unilever Nigeria will help deliver optimal oral health care in the country.
While also speaking at the event, Unilever Nigeria’s Marketing Director, Bunmi Adeniba, said that the brand would also be enlisting Nigerian youths as Oral health advocates who will take the message of good oral health to their various communities.
The President of the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), Dr. Bola Ijarogbe, also reiterated the association’s support for the Pepsodent Brush Day & Night Campaign and its commitment to empowering Nigerians to take charge of their Oral health.
With local and international accolades pouring in for the initiative and the headway being made in the education of Nigerians about good oral hygiene practices, the Pepsodent brand 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. The Pepsodent brand is unmistakably a brand with a purpose and on a mission.