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Infant oral mutilation in East Africa: eradication within ten years

V. Wordley & R. Bedi


Infant oral mutilation (IOM) is a widespread and dangerous traditional practice affecting 25 million children in East Africa. It involves the extraction of unerupted deciduous canine teeth in young infants owing to the corresponding swellings being mistaken as the cause of diarrhoea and fever. The rudimentary practice, undertaken by local healers, can sometimes be fatal. In 2018, a Call to Action was signed by a group of significant East African influencers and policy makers, urging for a strategy for IOM eradication within ten years.

Key Points

-Highlights infant oral mutilation as a barbaric practice affecting millions of children in East Africa.

-Emphasises the current need for action to eradicate the practice, especially in light of progress with female genital mutilation.

-Calls for awareness in dental professionals in the UK since affected children are migrating to more developed countries.


Retreived from British Dental Journal

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