Rwanda: Over 50% Rwandans Never Visit the Dentist – Survey

An estimated 57.1 percent of adult Rwandans have never visited a dentist yet it is recommended that a person should visit a dentist at least twice a year.

The estimates are part of the findings of a study carried out by the Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) on the risk factors of Non-Communicable Diseases in Rwanda.

Done in the form of a household survey, the study gathered information through face-to-face interviews, physical measurements, and biochemical analysis. It used a sample population of 5,676 people aged between 18 and 69 years, from all the four provinces of Rwanda.

According to the survey, 57.1 percent of the respondents said they had never received dental care. Of these, 61.6 percent were men while 52.6 percent were women.

Presenting the results of the survey, the Manager of the Non-Communicable Diseases Division at RBC, Dr. Francois Uwinkindi, said oral health is an area that needs emphasis so that people will pay more attention to it.

“People don’t visit dentists on a regular basis. The regulations say we should at least visit a dentist once a year, but people go there when they are having pain and we are not able to chew,” he said.

According to Dr. Bede Bana, a dentist working with the University of Rwanda’s dental clinic, a person should visit a dentist once every six months for checkups.

The survey also showed that only 19.3 percent of people in Rwanda clean their teeth at least twice a day.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says tooth brushing with fluoride-containing toothpaste, twice in a day, should be encouraged.

Oral diseases, according to the WHO, are among the most common Non-Communicable Diseases worldwide, affecting an estimated 3.5 billion people.

The burden of oral diseases and other Non-Communicable Diseases can be reduced through public health interventions by addressing common risk factors.

The interventions include promoting a well-balanced diet low in sugars and high in fruit and vegetables, and favouring water as the main drink; stopping use of all forms of tobacco, including chewing of areca nuts; reducing alcohol consumption; and encouraging use of protective equipment when doing sports and travelling on bicycles and motorcycles.

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