What happened to traditional ways of keeping oral hygiene?

Editor,

RE: “Poor oral hygiene a precursor to NCDs” (The New Times, July 10).

We had our traditional way of keeping oral hygiene that has now been forgotten.  Would it be worth to revitalise it, and compare its effectiveness with the western mode of mouth and teeth care? I’m talking about Kwiyunyuguza, Kwihaganyura, and the little shrub we used for cleaning our teeth and mouth after meals.

The Western type of dental care certainly has its own merits. But it also has attendant negative effects (due to all the synthetic chemicals used). There is also difficulty in their accessibility (cost, and import shortages,) among other challenges.

And what about the meals we have been brought up to prefer over our traditional meals? And the way we used to consume them. In traditional Rwanda, after or while taking meals, one would drink at the same time—often an alcoholic beverage—as a disinfectant.

Therefore, to begin with, shouldn’t Rwandan nutritionists focus, first, on what we eat and how we eat, and then advise us on the best or the a right balance between our tradition and the so-called “modernity.”

Two cases among many: Is the quantity of artificial sugar that we consume daily really necessary for our teeth and health in the tropics. I recently told someone that frying our foodstuff is a bad habit we started in the early 50s, copying from Congolese and  Westerners.

 Francois-X. Nziyonsenga