By Taddeo Bwambale
KAMPALA - Uganda has only 200 dentists (degree holders) serving a population of 35 million, implying that there is one dentist per 175,000 people.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends one dentist per 7,500 people.
The state minister for health (general duties), Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, made the disclosure while launching activities to mark World Oral Health Day in Kampala on Thursday.
The day is marked to celebrate the benefits of oral health and raise awareness about the value of oral hygiene.
More than 51% of Ugandans have suffered from dental diseases. About 76% of children under the age of five and 93% of adults suffer from tooth decay, according to the Ministry of Health.
At least 71% of the affected people have tooth decay and 43% bad breath.
He blamed the increase in oral diseases on consumption of sugary foods in regular diet, use of counterfeit toothpaste, tobacco use and poor access to dental health care.
In addition to dentists, Uganda has 400 dental officers (diploma holders) but most of these are largely urban-based.
Globally, 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases ranging from caries, periodontal diseases, tooth decay and cancer, according to WHO.
As part of efforts to improve access to dental health services, all regional referral hospitals have been supplied with dental equipment and a dentist, the minister stated